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The Notebook
DVD disk
Feb 3, 2005 By: Indiana Sev
The Notebook order
Director:
Nick Cassavetes

Actors:
Ryan Gosling
Rachel McAdams
James Garner

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In a nursing home, an old man (James Garner) reads a beautiful, romantic love story to an elderly woman (Gena Rowlands) who is stricken with a disease that has caused her to lose virtually all memories from her life. As they revisit this love affair between two young lovers (Gosling & McAdams) in the early 40s, the old woman gets more and more involved in the story as we begin to discover a unique and magical bond growing between her and her devoted reader
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This is the perfect old-time Hollywood romantic love story, but without the plethora of clichd characters you might otherwise see in movies of this type. McAdams mother who is against her relationship with a poor country boy isnt a one-dimensional demon and the man who McAdams is later engaged to in the movie isnt the typical lifeless dolt with zero personality and a mean streak. All the characters are completely fleshed out and that, coupled with the fact the you really believe in the intense love the two leads have for one another will get you involved in this movie more than you might expect. The real charm to this romance is in the sweetness and the innocence of the love affair. This is a pretty straightforward love story; the leads are separated by social standing and circumstance, then their correspondence is cut due to hidden letters from him to her, the war comes and goes and then they have a serendipitous encounter once she has already promised her hand to another man. What makes this basic story so intriguing is, as I alluded to before, the amazing chemistry between the two leads. You want to them to be with one another and the mysterious relationship between the storyteller and the elderly woman makes the film all the more absorbing.

I really cant say I found any faults with this movie (besides the phony looking CGI birds at the opening credits). Sure there were a couple of moments that could be considered too syrupy for some, but I for one, found it refreshing to have a love story in which the power of love is explored and expressed to the point where it shows that it truly can conquer all. It may not always be the way things turn out in real life, but there is nothing wrong with believing and knowing, that sometimes it does! The two leads and supporting players like Sam Shepard, James Marsden, David Thornton (this guy rules!) and Joan Allen all brought this movie up to a higher level and made me love it all the more. This movie means well and is executed in a way that makes it almost impossible not to connect with it on some level. This is one of the better romances to come out of Hollywood in a long, long time
THE EXTRAS
Audio Commentary by Nick Cassavetes: Great stuff here by the son of John and director of this film. Nick speaks by his lonesome and informs on everything from the casting to the changes they made in the script. Its all done with very few lulls and good, genuine enthusiasm.

Audio Commentary by Nicholas Sparks: Nick is the author of the book on which the movie is based upon. Sparks is a very well spoken man and this makes his commentary a joy to listen to. If you end up liking this movie as much as I did, youll likely get as big a kick out of both these commentaries as I did.

12 Alternate/Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary: It was interesting to see what the director thought best be removed from the final cut; there are quite a few gems in here but seeing as the film is already 2 hours +, its natural that they felt the need to trim the fat a bit. The lost scenes between Allie (McAdams) and Noah (Gosling) are of course, the most interesting to discover. There are alternate takes of the first and second love scenes between the two as well.

All in the Family: Nick Cassavetes (11 minutes): A featurette that mostly focuses on Nick Cassavetes as a director, with all his strong points and influences coming from a filmmaking background (his mother is actress Gena Rowlands and his father was indie director John Cassavetes). Lots of cast interviews and behind-the-scenes footage are featured here as well.

Nicholas Sparks: A Simple Story, Well Told (6 minutes): A look inside the life of the man who wrote the New York Times Best Selling novel on which this movie is based upon. From pharmaceutical rep to author, the feature explores his life a little and shows how the movie went from printed word to the silver screen. Nice little feature

Southern Exposure: Locating The Notebook (11 minutes): A very interesting feature that looks at all the locations where they shot the movie in South Carolina and the great lengths they went to in order to give it that truly authentic period look from the early 40s.

Casting Rachel & Ryan: After seeing McAdams screen test, its no wonder they cast her right away. Check this feature out and fall for this lovely little lady even more

We also get the film's Theatrical Trailer and DVD-ROM/Online Features.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Unless cupid has never even once shot his arrow through your heart, this is a movie that everyone should see. The DVD Clinic will go so far as to suggest that you buy this even before giving it a trial run on rent. Thats how confident and happy I was with THE NOTEBOOK
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