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The Notebook (Blu-Ray)
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Sweeping romance directed by Nick Cassavetes, set in a small coastal town in the American South - partly in the 1940s, and partly in the present day. In the present day scenes, an elderly man (James Garner) reads from a faded notebook to an old woman (Gena Rowlands) whom he regularly visits at her nursing home. As he reads, a passionate love story unfolds about a young couple - Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton (played in flashback scenes by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) - whose fledgling love affair was abruptly ended by circumstances and the sudden outbreak of World War 2. But although fate drives the young couple apart, they continue to be haunted by memories of their affair, and when Noah returns from the war seven years later, he realises that he cannot forget the promises they made to one other - despite the fact that Allie is engaged to be married to another man.
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Adapted from Nicholas Sparks' best-selling novel, and directed by Nick Cassavetes (the son of legendary director John Cassavettes).
A sweeping love story told by a man reading from his faded notebook (James Garner) to a woman in a nursing home (Gena Rowlands - real-life mother of Nick Cassavetes). 'The Notebook' follows the lives of two North Carolina teens from very different worlds (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams). Though her upbringing takes place in an antebellum mansion, and he grew up in the kind of house where musicians strum on the porch, that doesn't stop Noah and Allie from spending one incredible summer together, before they are separated, first by her parents and then by WWII.
After the war is over, everything is different. Allie is engaged to a successful businessman, and Noah lives alone with his 200-year-old house that he lovingly restores. But, when Allie reads a newspaper article about Noah's handiwork. She knows that she's got to find him, and make a decision once and for all about the path her life - and her love.
So, when a chance came to watch it online, I jumped at the chance, to celebrate a promotion for my wife, knowing that she would like a romance film with a weepy ending or two. What I was not ready for was the clarity and perfection of this film. Yes, it is a love story, but with the time shifts, the first time you see it you are hoping throughout the story that a certain outcome will take place, that the love Noah has for Allie will find a way to succeed.
It is beautifully shot, with fantastic panoramic vistas of the area shot, has wonderful actors [always been a fan of James Garner and Rachael McAdams] and the actress from the Bourne series, whose name eludes me as her mother trying to make it so her daughter does not go the same way she did in matters of love.
Half way through, you are put out of your misery and you know that the Garner/Rowlands partnership is the Noah and Allie from the story, but the heartache as she drifts in and out of her dementia ridden state is heartbreaking to say the least. They get about five minutes as geriatrics to come back sharply into focus once again and love each other all over again before she fails to recognize her husband and he suffers the loss all over again.
At the end, I cried my head off, and as a big rufty tufty fella, that takes a lot, so be prepared for a tissue or four to be used at the end. The scene where Garner and Rowlands are arm in arm and the camera pans up and away is just perfect. Watch and you will see.
A truly remarkable film which I have just ordered on DVD direct from Amazon. It shows me just how much I love my wife, in exactly the same way as these two characters here. Films can never be perfect, but this comes close!
In the nursing home, the tale begins when a kindhearted man goes to read to another resident, who is suffering from senile dementia. The woman is quickly entranced by the tale, spurring the reader on, and the story unfolds...
In the book, set in the early 1940s, a country boy catches sight of a girl and is immediately drawn to her. However, she is rich and he is poor, leading her to turn down his offer of a date on several occasions. Eventually, though, two of their mutual friends set them up and Allie realises that Noah is in fact a fine young man, despite his background. The two become close and fall deeply in love. They are inseparable and spend all the time together that they can, knowing in the back of their minds that the summer will soon be over and they'll have to make some tough decisions.
Presently, though, Allie's parents intervene. On discovering their daughter is not in her bed at 2am, a full-scale search is launched, leading them ultimately to a deserted house in which Allie and Noah are on the brink of making love for the first time. However, it is not to be and the two rush back to Allie's parents' summer home - to be faced with two very angry parents now determined to force them apart. They succeed and take Allie away - leaving the pair broken-hearted. Noah, still desperately in love, writes to Allie every day for a year, determined not to lose her. However, her mother hides the letters and Allie is devastated to think that the man she thought was her true love has forgotten her so easily.
On the arrival of World War II, Noah heads abroad to serve his country. In the meantime, Allie becomes a nurse, looking after sick and injured soldiers, knowing that in a way she is helping Noah by aiding his fellow fighters. The tale takes a twist when Allie falls for another man after helping him in the hospital. Lon (played by James Marsden) pursues Allie, easily winning over her parents, then pops the question. Noah's face fleetingly passes through Allie's mind as she accepts.
On returning from the war, Noah discovers that his father has sold his house to help his only son fund his lifelong dream - to restore the beautiful mansion he promised Allie he would one day own. He rebuilds and decorates the house to her specification, securing a photograph and an article in the newspaper, which by a strange coincidence ends up next to Allie's wedding announcement. After seeing her wedding announcement, Allie flips open the paper to see Noah's facing peering out. Instantly, she is thrown into turmoil, particularly as she sees that he has fulfilled his dream of owning and fixing up the mansion. She decides to pay him one last visit before her wedding.
Noah is delighted to see Allie, although he's unsure of her motives. Awkward at first, the two soon become accustomed to one another's company again and after being caught in a freak rainstorm, their passion is reignited. Allie is torn. She realises her feelings for Noah never went away, but she's now promised to become the wife of another man. What will she do?
Decades later in the nursing home, the story reaches its highly emotional conclusion. This is an absolutely beautiful story. The DVD cover claims that The Notebook is the most romantic film since Titanic. I wouldn't disagree. Girls, there won't be a dry eye in the house after watching this film. I loved it and can't wait to get my hands on the book.
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