Newest Review: ... and girl who meet and fall in love with each other even though they come from 2 different types of worlds, her mother makes her leave and... more
Love Shines Both In The Summer and Winter Of Life
The Notebook (DVD)
Member Name: Machair1
The Notebook (DVD)
Advantages: A film that portrays love for a lifetime
Disadvantages: May upset some
Actors: Gena Rowlands, James Garner, Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, Joan Allen
Director- Nick Cassavetes
DVD release date Feb 2005
Running Time 123 Minutes
Available for £3.99 with free delivery from Amazon.
Last night we were both ready to crash out and watch a film. Several weeks of trying to decorate a hall that spans a three storey house, with 3 cats and one dog has taken its toll, and a movie that I had been meaning to share with hubby for sometime caught my attention on my shelf of "keepers".
Brief Outline Of The Story
The Notebook is a film that is based on the novel by Nicolas Sparks, and it tells the story of two teenagers who meet during the final summer before the girl -Allie is planning to leave the state to go to university. Set In South Carolina this is no ordinary love affair as it spans two classes - Noah the boy is a hard working country guy who lives frugally on his earnings from manual labour, and Allie is a daughter who lives in affluence, and is encouraged by her parents to set her sights high. The rift between the lifestyles is immense, but the teenage emotions that drive the passion are electric. The love they share is always fragile as Allie's interfering parents watch on with despair and try to block the liason at every opportunity. Time passes and Allie leaves the country to follow her studies and the relationship appears to be over, but neither can forget the love that was between them. This is true even 7 years later when she is engaged to be married into yet more wealth and comfort, as a young and successful man sweeps her off her feet.
The story begins with scenes from a beautiful nursing home where an elderly lady in the last chapter of her life battles dementia, and a kind gentleman called Duke, played by James Garner, is seen sitting by her side. He reads a story to her which she enjoys, and at times seems to stir some familiarity which she sees fleetingly, but then fails to imprint on her ageing mind. Who are these two and what does it all mean ?- for this and the events that precede you will have to watch for yourself.
My opinion of this film was very positive the first time that I saw it alone, and I was interested to see the reaction of my husband as he watched the scenes. He was utterly captivated as I was, as this is a story of a beautiful and honest love between two people who share a chemistry that completely overshadows wealth and material possessions. The film is set in the 1940s, and at first I would say for the opening scenes I was a little bit disappointed, as I thought the film lacked substance and wasn't going to hold my interest. This was especially true for me in the early moments of their relationship where immaturity drives them forward. However it is this innocence and simplicity that contrasts so beautifully between the later parts of the film where maturity dominates, that makes this film so utterly entrancing. I would say if you find the first twenty minutes too shallow try to stay with it, as this rather difficult to watch portrayal of the pair falling in love may seem prolonged and juvenile, as it reflects their ages at the time. In particular it especially highlights the rather casual and "anything goes" attitude of the young Noah.
There are some utterly beautiful moments in the film especially in the second part - a rowing boat drifting in duck speckled lakes as the rain approaches. There are moving scenes of tenderness and despair that are superbly acted by the two main characters. Noah is played so beautifully by Ryan Gosling who isn't afraid to speak his mind and to follow through his promises. He matures in the film from a rather risk taking youth, to someone who stands up for what he believes in, and he plays this transformation with skill and with passion. By the second half of the film he has a beard and a hair cut which isn't exactly of the era, and I did notice this as it had that just blow-dried look to it - still he is really pleasing to the eye so at this point I didn't care! I especially enjoyed the fact that although the film is dated in years, being set in the pre and post war era, the two main characters express themselves in a way that can easily transverse the decades, and the issues they raise are as true today as they were then. There are some excellent computer graphics on this film with moonlit scenes actually filmed in daylight hours, and images of birds flying over white picket fences. There are also rich country landscapes typical of this area shown in all their glory making this a film that is visually so enjoyable.
Allie is also superbly played by Rachel McAdams who portrays all her emotions with credibility. She too transforms from youth to adulthood and leaves her teenage years behind her, turning into a woman who is torn between her love of two men from different worlds. For me though the real awards belong with Gena Rowlands. She plays the elderly lady in the nursing home as her battle with dementia destroys her memory and leaves her confused and isolated. No one wants to see dementia as we all fear it, but the way that it is portrayed in this film is more a celebration of life and love and dedication, that a morbid trail through the years of a lost mind.
This film is a reminder of the fragility of life and the possibility that love can exist between two souls that love each other irrespective of class or money. My husband was intensely moved by it and we sat in silence for a few moments at the end with a box of tissues between us- speechless.
There are some excellent DVD extras which I really enjoyed and which are well worth watching. I particularly enjoyed the director's commentary on deleted scenes, and also on the film editing which highlighted some fascinating detail. Originally the film was running at over 3 hours, and so a lot of editing was necessary to trim it down to the 2 hours or so that remain, which it was felt necessary to keep the story alive without diluting the meaning. This involved culling some outstanding scenes which out of their context were superb, but which had to go in order to aid the flow and the momentum the film needed to have credibility and sincerity.
The film was made in South Carolina although the book was set in North, and because the director felt that the former really captured the essence and flavour of the southern way of life lived by the characters in the book, he found it appropriate to set the film in this more southerly location than the author had intended. There is also a lot of discussion about the love scenes and how they had to make them just right for the passion they felt, but not too explicit as to lose the rating that the film needed to reach larger audiences. For this reason the extras have a different classification of 15 ( the film is 12) as there is discussion and content surrounding the scenes which have love physically expressed within them.
This is a beautiful film that I will never forget. It has its failings - yes- but it portrays a love that transcends class and lasts through generations. It is a joyful piece that presents hope, especially in failing years. I am sure it will touch so many who see this for the first time. My mum is not the way she was, and my father cares for her with dedication and he too battles illness every day, but they met at 16 and now in their 80s they have weathered many storms. Mum has clarity at times but at others she fades into darkness. It reminds me of my own immortality and the importance of living every day treasuring every moment. This film certainly celebrates life and love like no other.
This review was also published on Ciao under my user name Violet1278.
Summary: Said to be one of the films that make men cry