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.
At a modern-day nursing home, an elderly man, whom people call "Duke", begins to read a romantic love story from his notebook to an elderly woman and fellow patient.
His story begins in 1940. In Seabrook Island, South Carolina, local country boy Noah Calhoun is smitten with a 17-year-old heiress, Allie Hamilton. After seeing Allie at a carnival, Noah climbs up the Ferris wheel in an attempt to speak to her. She finally accepts to go on a date with him after he threatens to jump off of the Ferris wheel. Noah and Allie's friends, Fin and Sarah, set up a movie date for them, and after dancing in the middle of the street when the film ends, the two begin an idyllic summer romantic love affair. After spending a beautiful summer together with their friends, Fin and Sarah, Noah takes Allie to an old abandoned plantation house. After Allie plays the old piano, she asks him to make love to her, but they are interrupted by Fin, telling them that Allie's parents have sent the police to look for her. When Allie and Noah return to her parents' mansion, her parents forbid the two to continue their romance. Allie runs outside after Noah, but the two fight and eventually break up. The next day, Allie's mother informs her that they are returning home to Charleston. Allie rushes to the lumberyard in search of Noah, but finds Fin instead. She asks him to tell Noah that she loves him, and after promising he will, the two say goodbye and Allie leaves with her family.
Noah writes a letter to Allie each day for one year. Her mother, Anne, intercepts them all and keeps them hidden from Allie to protect her daughter from getting her heart broken. As Noah and Allie have no contact from each other, they both have no choice but to move on with their lives. After moving to Atlanta, Noah and Fin enlist in the army to fight in World War II. During her third year in college, Allie volunteers as a nurse to care for wounded soldiers. There she meets Lon Hammond Jr., a dashing young lawyer who is funny, charming, sophisticated, and comes from old Southern Money. One night at a dance club with her parents, Lon proposes to Allie. She accepts gladly, but only sees Noah's face in place of Lon's.
When Noah returns home from the war, his father informs him that he has sold their house, so that Noah can purchase his dream house, the Windsor Plantation House. While visiting the house with his father, all he sees is Allie. While traveling to Charleston to get the building plans approved, Noah sees Allie walking down the sidewalk. After jumping from a moving bus, Noah finds Allie eating lunch with Lon and witnesses the two sharing a passionate kiss. From that point forward, Noah is convinced that if he restores the house, Allie will come back to him. When he does finish, he gets riotously drunk and decides to sell the house, although he later decides to keep it. While at a wedding dress fitting, Allie sees a picture of Noah and the restored house passes out, while reading an article about her wedding. Later she visits Lon's workplace, and informs him that she has decided to visit Seabrook for a few days.
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. Their visiting children tell him that he needs to accept that she can't remember anymore. Duke tells them that the more he reads to their mother, the more she'll remember and he won't give up on her.
Back in 1947, Allie checks into a hotel and goes to see Noah. The two talk for awhile before Noah invites Allie for dinner. Afterwards, he reads to Allie Walt Whitman's poetry. Before Allie leaves, Noah asks Allie to come back in the morning, and she agrees. The next day, Noah takes Allie for a boat ride on the river, and shows her a place filled with geese and swans. On their way back, a storm begins. Once they reach the shore, Allie confronts Noah as to why he didn't write to her. He tells her of the 365 letters that he wrote to her. After arguing, the two kiss passionately and make love. Afterwards Martha Shaw (Noah's love interest) visits and Allie prepares a meal for all of them. The next day, Allie awakens to find a flower and note from Noah saying he went to get breakfast for them and didn't want to wake her. She then follows a line of white arrows and discovers an art room overlooking the river (a promise Noah had made to Allie when they were young). After painting for a while, her mother, Anne, comes and appears on Noah's doorstep to pick her up. She takes Allie out for a drive and reveals that, 25 years earlier, she also loved a common man. Her parents disapproved of him because he was lower class and Anne was banned from seeing him again. After that, she married her father, whom her parents approved of as he was from a rich family. Arriving back at Seabrook, Anne leaves Allie with a bundle of all of Noah's letters, revealing that she had intercepted them in an attempt to protect her from getting her heart broken and hopes that she will make the right choice. Allie and Noah then have an argument about her indecisiveness as to who she should choose, and Allie leaves in frustration and confused. While driving Allie begins crying and nearly has a collision with a truck. After pulling over, she reads the last letter that Noah wrote her and feels betrayed by Anne for keeping the letters away from her. Allie returns to the hotel and confesses to Lon that she has been unfaithful to him. Despite his upset at this news, Lon tells Allie that he still loves her deeply, but that if she chose him she would not be truly happy- he would be sharing her with another man.
In the present, Allie demands Duke tell her the ending of the story- but he waits for her to think. Becoming lucid, she remembers that the story Duke was reading is the story of how they first met. Back in 1947, after reading all of the letters, 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 minutes later Allie relapses, losing her memories of Noah again. She panics, not understanding who he is, and has to be sedated.
The elderly Noah has a heart attack, and Allie is alone for a time. However, as soon as he is sufficiently recovered, Noah ("Duke") goes to Allie's room one evening to find her lucid again. Allie questions Noah about what will happen to them when she will not be able to remember anything anymore, and he reassures her that he will never ever leave her. She asks him if he thinks their love for each other is strong enough to make miracles, and he replies that he thinks their love could do anything. After telling each other they love one another, Noah adds "I'll be seeing you". The next morning, a nurse comes into Allie's room, only to find Allie and Noah in each other's arms after passing away peacefully during the night.
- 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 Allie's portrayer, 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.
Box-office performance 
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.
Critical response 
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, he praised 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|
Home media 
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- "The Notebook (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 16, 2010.
- "The Notebook Special Edition on ABC Family This Sunday". Nicholas Sparks: The Official Website. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
- Wilson-Combs, Lana K. (June 27, 2004). "A chat with Nicholas Sparks". Ocala Star-Banner. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
- Ravitz, Justin (December 12, 2011). "Ryan Gosling: Notebook Director Told Me I Wasn't "Handsome" or "Cool"". Us Weekly. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
- Pickle, Betsy (June 25, 2004). "'NOTEBOOK' LOVE SCENES WERE 'EMBARRASSING,' SAYS ACTOR". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
- "The Notebook Production Notes". Movies Central. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
- "The Notebook Trivia". Philippine Daily Inquirer. August 26, 2004. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
- Wloszczyna, Susan (June 24, 2004). "Hot off 'The Notebook'". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
- Thompson, Bill (February 19, 2003). "'Notebook' pivotal for McAdams.". The Post and Courier. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
- "The gossip's now over Rachel". Thefreelibrary.com. June 18, 2004. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
- Deziel, Shanda (July 14, 2005). "Rachel's all the rage". Maclean's. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
- "Movies Filmed in South Carolina – The Notebook". South Carolina's Information HighWAY. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
- McGuire, Judy (February 28, 2009). "Romance, Movie Style - Love on Location - The Notebook". Time. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
- "Rice Hope Plantation – Oatland – Georgetown County". Retrieved May 22, 2012.
- "The Notebook (2004) – Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 5, 2008.
- "Romantic Drama Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
- "The Notebook". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- "The Notebook". Metacritic. Retrieved February 5, 2008.
- Ebert, Roger. "The Notebook". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved August 7, 2010.
- Lowry, Peter (June 28, 2004). "The Notebook". Film Threat. Hamster Stampede LLC. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- Holden, Stephen (June 25, 2004). "When Love Is Madness and Life a Straitjacket". The New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- Hornaday, Ann (June 25, 2004). "A Tear-Stained 'Notebook'". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- Arnold, William (June 24, 2004). "Touching 'Notebook' overcomes flaws to satisfy romance fans in need of a good cry". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- Morris, Wesley (June 25, 2004). "Love shows its age in 'Notebook'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- Winter, Jessica (June 15, 2004). "Old Pros Lend Credibility to Young Lovebirds' Magical Hysteria Tour". The Village Voice. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- Koehler, Robert (May 20, 2004). "The Notebook". Variety. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- Adam B. Vary (June 1, 2010). "The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years: Here's our full list!". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- "25 Sexiest Movies Ever!". Entertainment Weekly. January 2, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- "30 Most Romantic Movies of All Time - The Notebook". Us Weekly. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- "Top 25 romantic movies". Boston.com. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- "Best Romance Movies of All Time". Moviefone. February 5, 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- "The 12 Most Romantic Movie Scenes of All Time Read more: The Most Romantic Scene from The Notebook - Marie Claire". Marie Claire. Hearst Corporation. February 1, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- Cox, Carmen (March 22, 2011). "Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time Read On ABC News Radio: http://abcnewsradioonline.com/entertainment-news/best-in-film-the-greatest-movies-of-our-time.html#ixzz2H7iFHqtN". ABC News Radio. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
- Kinnear, Simon (February 13, 2012). "50 Most Romantic Movie Moments Of All Time".
- "5th Annual Golden Trailer Award Winner and Nominees". GoldenTrailer.com. 2004. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
- "CA The Notebook.pdf". Horizon High School Drama. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
- "Artis Award Winners – 2005". Casting Society of America. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
- "2005 MTV Movie Awards". MTV. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
- "The 11th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". SAGAwards.org. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
- "'Notebook' Wins Eight Teen Choice Awards". Fox News. Associated Press. August 15, 2005. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
- "The Notebook - DVD Sales". The Numbers. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
- Cavanagh, John (October 20, 2008). "The Notebook Comes In Blu Next January...". Inside Pulse. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
- Kaufman, Amy (February 4, 2010). "Nicholas Sparks is a master of romance". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
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