The Notebook (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Nick Cassavetes|
|Produced by||Lynn Harris
Avram Butch Kaplan
|Screenplay by||Jeremy Leven
|Based on||The Notebook
by Nicholas Sparks
|Narrated by||James Garner|
|Music by||Aaron Zigman|
|Editing by||Alan Heim|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Running time||124 minutes|
The Notebook is a 2004 American romantic drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes. The screenplay, written by Jeremy Leven and Jan Sardi, is based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. The film stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as a young couple who fall in love during the early 1940s. Their story is narrated from the present day by an elderly man (played by James Garner) telling the tale to a fellow nursing home resident (played by Gena Rowlands, who is Cassavetes' mother).
The Notebook received mixed reviews but performed well at the box office and received several award nominations, winning eight Teen Choice Awards, a Satellite Award and a MTV Movie Award. The film has gained a cult following. On November 11, 2012, ABC Family premiered an extended version with deleted scenes added back into the original storyline.
The story he tells begins in 1940. In Seabrook Island, South Carolina, local country boy Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) is smitten with seventeen-year-old heiress Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) after seeing her at a carnival, and they share an idyllic summer love affair. Noah takes Allie to an abandoned house, which he explains that he intends to buy for them. Later that evening, she asks him to make love to her, but they are interrupted by Noah's friend Fin (Kevin Connolly) with the news that Allie's parents have the police out looking for her. When Allie and Noah return to her parents' mansion, they ban her from seeing Noah, whom they called "trash, trash, trash". The two break up and the next morning, Allie's mother announces that the family is returning home to Charleston.
Noah and Allie have no choice but to move on with their lives; Noah and Fin enlist to fight in World War II and Fin is killed in battle. Allie becomes a volunteer in a hospital for wounded soldiers, where she meets an officer named Lon Hammond, Jr. (James Marsden), a young lawyer who is handsome, sophisticated, charming and comes from old Southern money. The two eventually become engaged, to the delight of Allie's parents, but Allie sees Noah's face when Lon asks her to marry him.
When Noah returns home from the war, he discovers his father has sold their home so that Noah can buy the abandoned house, fulfilling his lifelong dream to buy it for the departed Allie, whom by now he hasn't seen for several years. While visiting Charleston, Noah witnesses Allie and Lon kissing at a restaurant; he convinces himself that if he restores the house, Allie will come back to him. Later, Allie is startled to read in the newspaper that Noah has completed the house and she visits him in Seabrook.
In the present, it is made clear that the elderly woman is in fact Allie, who is suffering from dementia and cannot remember any of the events being read to her. Duke, the man who is reading to her, is her husband, but Allie cannot recognize him.
Back in the forties, Allie returns to Seabrook. She and Noah renew their relationship and make love at Noah’s now-restored house. In the morning, Allie's mother appears on Noah's doorstep, warning Allie that a jealous Lon has followed her to Seabrook. Allie confesses to Lon that she has been spending time with Noah. He is upset but says that he still loves her. Allie tells him she knows she should be with him, but she remains indecisive.
In the present, Allie becomes briefly lucid and remembers that the story Duke is reading is the story of how they met. Young Allie appears at Noah's doorstep, having left Lon at the hotel. Elderly Allie suddenly remembers her past; after finding out about her illness, she herself wrote their story in the notebook with instructions for Noah to "read this to me, and I'll come back to you". But Allie soon relapses, losing her memories of Noah. She panics, not understanding who he is, and has to be sedated. That same night Noah is hospitalised for what seems to be another heart attack. While he is in the hospital, Allie remains heavily sedated and in a wheelchair.
When released from the hospital, Elderly Noah ("Duke") goes to Allie's room to find her lucid again. Allie questions Noah about what will happen to them when she loses her memory completely, and he reassures her that he will never leave her. She asks him if he thinks their love for each other is strong enough to "take them away together"; he replies that he thinks their love could do anything. After telling each other that they love one another, they both go to sleep in Allie's bed. The next morning, a nurse finds them dead in each others' arms.
- Ryan Gosling as Noah Calhoun
- Rachel McAdams as Allison "Allie" Hamilton
- James Garner as Old Noah Calhoun/"Duke"
- Gena Rowlands as Old Allie Calhoun
- Joan Allen as Anne Hamilton
- James Marsden as Lon Hammond, Jr.
- Jamie Brown as Martha Shaw
- Sam Shepard as Frank Calhoun
- David Thornton as John Hamilton
- Kevin Connolly as Fin
- Heather Wahlquist as Sara Tuffington
- Ed Grady as Harry
- Starletta DuPois as Nurse Esther
- Obba Babatunde as Bandleader
- Mark Johnson as Photographer
Work began in March 1996, when the first screenwriter was hired to write the first draft and script, but it did not get off the ground as the studios wanted the film to be closer to the book. Another writer wrote a draft, but several years passed as they wanted several changes. Then Nick Cassavetes came aboard.
Cassavetes wanted someone unknown and "not handsome" to portray Noah; therefore, he cast Ryan Gosling in the role. Gosling was initially surprised by this: "I read [the script] and I thought, 'He's crazy. I couldn't be more wrong for this movie.' " "It gave me an opportunity to play a character over a period of time - from 1940 to 1946 - that was quite profound and formative." To prepare for the part, Gosling temporarily moved to Charleston, South Carolina prior to filming. During two months, he rowed the Ashley River and made furniture. A nationwide search was conducted to find the right actress to play Allie, and Rachel McAdams was ultimately chosen. On casting her, Cassavetes said: "When Rachel McAdams came in and read, it was apparent that she was the one. She and Ryan had great chemistry between them." She commented: "I thought it would be a dream to be able to do it. I read the script and went into the audition just two days later. It was a good way to do it, because I was very full of the story." In comparison to the book, the role was extended. McAdams spent time in Charleston before filming to familiarize herself with the surroundings, and took ballet and etiquette classes.
|This section requires expansion with: reliable sources. (September 2012)|
The Notebook was filmed almost entirely on location in South Carolina, in late 2002 and early 2003. Production offices for the film were set up at the old Charleston Naval Base in North Charleston.
Much of the film's plot takes place in and around Seabrook Island, an actual town which is one of the South Carolina "sea islands." It is located 20 miles inland, halfway between Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. However, none of the filming took place in the Seabrook area. The house that Noah is seen fixing up is a private residence at Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina, which is another "sea island" locality situated 20 miles closer to Charleston. The house was not actually in a dilapidated state at any time, but it was made to look that way by special effects in the first half of the film. Contrary to the suggestion in the film's dialogue, neither the house nor the Seabrook area was home to South Carolina Revolutionary hero Francis Marion, whose plantation was actually located some distance northwest of Charleston. The Boone Hall Plantation served as Allie's summer house.
Many of the scenes set in Seabrook were filmed in the town of Mt. Pleasant, (a suburb of Charleston). Others were filmed in Charleston and in Edisto Island. The lake scenes were filmed at Cypress Gardens (in Moncks Corner, South Carolina) with trained birds that were brought in from elsewhere.
Another major portion of the film was set at an unnamed nursing home, presumably located somewhere in the Carolinas. The nursing home scenes were actually filmed at Rice Hope Plantation, located in Georgetown County, South Carolina. The college depicted briefly in the film is identified in the film as Sarah Lawrence College, but the campus that is seen is actually the College of Charleston.
The film premiered June 25, 2004, in the United States and Canada and grossed $13.5 million in 2,303 theaters its opening weekend, ranking number 4 at the box office. The film grossed a total of $115.6 million worldwide, $81 million in Canada and the United States and $34.6 million in other countries. It is the 12th highest-grossing romantic drama film of all time.
The Notebook received a mixed reaction from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 52% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 154 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film currently holds an average score of 53, based on 34 reviews, which indicates "mixed or average reviews."
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times praised the film, awarding it with three-and-a-half stars out of four, calling the photography "striking in its rich, saturated effects" and stating that the "actors are blessed by good material." Peter Lowry of Film Threat gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of five; praising the performances of both Gosling and McAdams, he wrote: "Gosling and especially McAdams give all-star performances, doing just enough to hand the reins over to the pros, who take what's left of the film and finish the audience off with some touching scenes that don't leave a dry eye in the house." About the film itself, he added: "Overall, The Notebook is a surprisingly good film that manages to succeed where many other "chick flick" like romances fail."
Stephen Holden of The New York Times gave the film a positive review, stating that "the scenes between the young lovers confronting adult authority have the same seething tension and lurking hysteria that the young Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood brought more than 40 years ago to their roles in Splendor in the Grass. Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post also gave the film a positive review, she also praised the performances of Gosling and McAdams, stating: "Never mind that McAdams and Gosling don't for a minute call to mind 1940s America; they're both suitably attractive and appealing. Gosling, who delivered a searing and largely unseen screen debut performance in the 2001 drama The Believer, is particularly convincing as a young man who charms his way past a girl's strongest defenses." About the film, she added: "Audiences craving big, gooey over-the-top romance have their must-see summer movie in The Notebook." William Arnold of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer praised the performance of McAdams but criticized the performance of Gosling, stating the he "just doesn't have the kind of star power or chemistry with McAdams to anchor this kind of minor-league Gone with the Wind." He also added about the film that it "doesn't completely work on its own terms, mainly because its romantic casting just doesn't spark: It doesn't make us fall in love with its lovers." Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe gave the film two-and-a-half stars, praising the performances of its cast members, writing about McAdams that "she's soulfully committed to the suds in the story and fiercely attentive to the other actors". He added about Gosling: "Gosling is adept at playing sociopaths and intense brooders, and there's reason to think, early on, that Noah might be similarly off, as when he threatens to drop from a Ferris wheel unless Allie agrees to go on a date with him." About the film, he wrote: "Considering the sunny, relatively pleasurable romantic business that precedes it, the elderly stuff seems dark, morbid, and forced upon us."
Jessica Winter of The Village Voice gave the film a mixed review, stating: "Amid the sticky-sweet swamp of Jeremy Leven's script, Rowlands and Garner emerge spotless and beatific, lending a magnanimous credibility to their scenes together. These two old pros slice cleanly through the thicket of sap-weeping dialogue and contrivance, locating the terror and desolation wrought by the cruel betrayals of a failing mind." Robert Koehler of Variety magazine also gave the film a mixed review, he however, praised the performances, writing that "already one of the most intriguing young thesps, Gosling extends his range to pure romance without sacrificing a bit of his naturally subversive qualities, and even seems comfortable looking beautiful in a manly American way. The head-turner is McAdams, doing such a different perf from her top bitch in Mean Girls that it's hard to tell it's the same actor. She skillfully carries much of the film's emotional weight with a free and easy manner."
In June 2010, Entertainment Weekly included Allie and Noah in its list of the "100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years." The periodical listed The Notebook in their 25 Sexiest Movies Ever. Us Weekly included the film in their list of the 30 Most Romantic Movies of All Time. Boston.com ranked the film the third Top Romantic Movie. The Notebook appeared on Moviefone's list of the 25 Best Romance Movies of All Time. Marie Claire also put the film on its list of the 12 Most Romantic Movie Scenes of All Time. In 2011, The Notebook was named the best chick-flick during ABC News and People's television special Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time. The scene where Noah climbs the Ferris Wheel because he wants a date with Allie made the list of Total Film's 50 Most Romantic Movie Moments Of All Time.
Awards and nominations
|2004||Golden Trailer Awards||Best Romance||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie of the Summer||Nominated|
|Choice Breakout Movie Star||Rachel McAdams||Nominated|
|2005||Artios Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Feature Film, Drama||Matthew Barry and Nancy Green-Keyes||Nominated|
|Golden Satellite Awards||Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture||Gena Rowlands||Won|
|MTV Movie Awards||Best Female Performance||Rachel McAdams||Nominated|
|Best Kiss||Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling||Won|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role||James Garner||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Drama||Won|
|Choice Date Movie||Won|
|Choice Movie Actor – Drama||Ryan Gosling||Won|
|Choice Movie Actress – Drama||Rachel McAdams||Won|
|Choice Movie Breakout Performance – Male||Ryan Gosling||Won|
|Choice Movie Chemistry||Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling||Won|
|Choice Movie Liplock||Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling||Won|
|Choice Movie Love Scene||Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling||Won|
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