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mdtinney's Movie Reviews (315)

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Notebook, The (2004) 
My #1 rated Chick Flick in at #40!
4/4 stars

The best thing about "The Notebook" is probably its simplicity. There's nothing complicated about it. It's all about the love shared by two very different people who have built a life together in spite of their differences, and who face their declining years together, with all the challenges those declining years bring. It's sweet, it's romantic, it's emotional- it's probably the epitome of what we think of when we speak about a "chick flick." And it's very good. The premise is - as I said - surprisingly simple. Allie (Gena Rowlands) is confined to a nursing home because of dementia. She can't remember anything - not even her family. Her husband Noah (James Garner) is fiercely devoted to her, reading everyday from a notebook, in which Allie penned the story of their love, a story that just every now and then drags her back to reality. We move back and forth from the present day (in the nursing home) to the story of their early love. In their earlier days, Allie and Noah (played by Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling) overcame lots of challenges and pretty long odds to be together. In their declining years, they have many things to overcome to stay together.It's a pleasant movie - sometimes sad, sometimes hopeful, and always passionate in a loving sense. McAdams and Gosling portrayed the young love brilliantly, but the most powerful scene (in my opinion) belonged to Garner, when - after a brief few minutes when Allie had snapped back to reality and they had shared a dance - is suddenly horrified by the fact that she lost everything in an instant and had to be restrained and drugged to be brought under control. It was the look on his face in that scene that stood out for me. The ending of the movie is both sad and happy, and completely appropriate to the story. In the end, the power of love triumphed in spite of all the odds against it.


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