The Notebook (2004)

(On TV, December 2014)  I’m not a big fan of big romantic dramas, but in the decade since it was released, The Notebook has become a modern classic-of-sorts in its genre, as essential viewing for romance fans as, say, the contemporary Shaun of the Dead can be for zombie fans.  And despite the cynicism that one can bring to it, The Notebook remains curiously effective in large part due to great performances and a killer hook of an ending that wraps it as definitely as any romance can.  This is, obviously, the film that has made Ryan Gosling famous as a sex-symbol, and solidified a Hollywood career for Rachel McAdams – their onscreen performance is compelling (although by now nearly everyone knows that they weren’t getting along at the time) and their much-lauded poster-making rainstorm kiss scene can impress even the curmudgeons in the audience.  Director Nick Cassavetes goes old-school in the way he helms the film, and that earnestness helps sell the old-fashioned story being told.  The last few minutes are exceptionally effective, and cement the film’s high-drama romance.  While The Notebook may not target me, there’s no denying how well it works at its intended goals, and deserves its place as a film whose reputation has grown in the years since its release.

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