DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ***** (out of 5 stars)

    Ryan Gosling as NOAH CALHOUN
    Rachel McAdams as ALLIE HAMILTON
    James Garner as DUKE
    Gena Rowlands as ALLIE
    Joan Allen as ANNE HAMILTON
    James Marsden as LON HAMMOND, JR.

    Rated PG-13
    Studio: New Line Cinema

    Own it on January 20
    Directed by: Nick Cassavetes

    Check out the "The Notebook" official site

    Back to DVD Review Home


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An older man named Duke (James Garner) visits an elderly woman (Gena Rowlands) with Alzheimer’s in a nursing home. Duke reads to her throughout the day from a tattered notebook that tells the story of two lovers from different lives during the summer in the 1940s.

In the story, Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) is a handyman, and Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) is the daughter of a rich family visiting a southern retreat on vacation. They strike up a romance that is extremely passionate and apparently doomed from the start. Allie’s family wants nothing to do with Noah, and in particular, her mother (Joan Allen) works to keep them apart. When the family leaves after the summer, the mother drives a wedge between them, but their love continues to bring them back together.

This kind of movie just isn’t my cup of tea. I like a good love story, but the angst-filled unrequited love story can be a bit much for me. Plus, I’m not a fan of Ryan Gosling (although I do find Rachel McAdams very pleasant to watch on screen). So, I’m admitting my prejudices before I judge this film.

While the overall story isn’t my kind of film, I did find this movie brilliant to watch. The cinematography was excellent, and it really captured a feeling of nostalgia. Overall, this is a bit of a romantic fantasy, which assumes love at first sight and young passion can overpower reality, but that’s to be expected from something that’s written by Nicholas Sparks. At least it was better than “Nights in Rodanthe,” his latest film.

Still, for someone who loves these sorts of stories, it would be a fantastic movie.

Like any love story, “The Notebook” is pretty predictable. Even down to the ending, I was able to stay a step ahead of the story. This could be because of the story’s relatively route plot, but it could also have something to do with the amount of this movie that is revealed in the trailers (which I remember seeing five years ago in the theaters).

Ryan Gosling is the low feature in this movie as he’s never seemed to give a performance without a healthy dose of arrogance. In reality, the characters in their teenage years wouldn’t necessarily have made that great of a couple later in their lives, but I suppose that’s what romance movies are all about.

Ultimately, this film is going to be awesome for the chick flick crowd, but not so much to anyone with a Y chromosome.

Believe it or not, even though I was lukewarm to the film, this DVD limited edition is one of the best ones I’ve seen in a long time. It relies on a bit of a gimmick, but a gimmick isn’t a bad thing when you’re buying a thick, commemorative box for the film.

First, the DVD has several special features, including a dozen deleted scenes, commentaries by the director and the writer, four making-of featurettes and Rachel McAdams’ original screen test.

However, the bonus materials aren’t the reason to pick up this gift set. The box includes a 46-page photo and scrapbook album commemorating the movie. It also comes with scrapbooking materials (including photo corners to add your photographs to the album), stickers and book marks for the fan to enjoy. There’s also a set of 16 notecards and envelopes with a theme of “The Notebook.”

Ultimately, if you want to score some points on Valentine’s Day, you might want to spring for this if she liked the film the first time.

Women... and guys who want to woo those women.

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