Monday, August 29, 2005

FILM: The Notebook

On Saturday night, we had a quiet evening in and watched The Notebook on DVD. We really enjoyed this poignant romance, and I'm glad we watched it at home because I was crying at the end. (Point of calibration: I'm a total softie. I get teary-eyed watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.) Young actors Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams were excellent as two teenagers from very different backgrounds who experience a summer love that profoundly affects their lives. Their charm and chemistry was enchanting. Director Nick Cassavetes did a great job coaching their performances (as could be seen on some of the DVD extras), skillfully infusing their romance with the added magic of beautiful South Carolina landscape, a Norman Rockwell small town, and general Southern charm. The story of the young lovers is actually a story within a story: in the "outer story", an elderly man is reading the story to an elderly woman in a nursing home. As the inner story unfolds with occasional cuts back to the outer story, we get to see how the inner story affects the elderly man and woman (played beautifully by James Garner and Gena Rowlands). At the very beginning, the outer story seemed like an unnecessary device, but as we learn more about the elderly man and woman, and how they got to where they are in their lives, their story is as moving as the inner story. Other good performances included Joan Allen (as the young girl's mother), Sam Shephard (the young boy's father), and James Marsden (a rival love interest). In its passion and its charm, I found The Notebook to be the equal of Titanic. It's too bad it didn't get the same acclaim.

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