Monday, July 9, 2012

The Notebook (2004)

First off, I love the scenery, especially the opening sequence at the lake as the sun receded below the horizon, painting the sky crimson red. In slow motion, a man rows his boat on the lake, creating gentle ripples through the water with the red sky reflected off its surface. A flock of birds soar past the house as the camera moves in slowly, introducing Noah and Allie, portrayed by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.

Ever since they first met at the carnival, where Noah asked Allie out on a date in a rather unconventional manner, the two are absolutely crazy about each other despite their difference in social status. Taking place in the 1940's, as the idyllic summer in South Carolina comes to an end, Allie’s parents forbid her from seeing Noah. Years later, they are engaged in a love triangle, as Rachel must choose between a man from her past and her wealthy fiancĂ©.

The lead characters have great chemistry and depth, engaging the audience in their impassioned story. They were able to reconnect like soul mates in spite of all the years of separation, showing how true love conquers all. I love how Noah fights to win her back, writing letters every day as he reminisces the sweet memories of the past, transitioning into the present time as he admires their renovated home that used to be the abandoned house where they spent the night together. One of my favorite parts is the scene when Noah leads her to a room overlooking the river with a canvas and paint brush waiting for her, just as she requested (It seems that Rachel McAdams is always painting in her movies). If there is anyone who knows her well, it’s Noah.

The Notebook is a well-crafted love story. I love that the director chose two actors who were relatively new to Hollywood. I couldn’t think of anyone one who could portray the roles better. The way the filmmakers pace the film was very gentle and slow, taking its time in a genuine, old-fashioned way. The swans were enchanting, but a bit over-the-top. The scene where they dance in the middle of the street in the still night seems foolish, but romantic. Several scenes featured in the novel by Nicholas Sparks were omitted; although, I believe the filmmakers made the right choice, as the film was already running at a two-hour duration.

However, the biggest flaw is including the scenes in present time. The fact that different actors portray the two main characters in their later years and the scenes have a different tone disrupts the flow of the story. Even though I dislike this second layer of storytelling, I must admit that it adds depth to the story. Nevertheless, I would prefer to focus on the story of Noah and Allie’s past.

Overall, The Notebook is always a classic love story about giving love a second chance.

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