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(Review originally written at 11 July 2006)

"The Notebook" is better than just your average romantic movie for a couple of reasons.

The first and foremost reason for me was the look of it. It had an obvious high budget (at least for its genre) that was well spent. The did a good job at recreating the '40's, with lots of nice looking sets, cars and costumes. The cinematography was beautiful and made the settings of the movie really come forward into the story.

As for the story itself it wasn't really anything new and was filled with the typical clichés you could expect from a movie about a boy and a girl falling in love, of which one is from the 'upper-class' and the big city and the other of the 'lower-class' and from a small town. Take away the movie its good actors and budget and you'll have your average romantic movie. The story certainly is not strong and thick enough to carry the entire movie on its own. Sure, the movie does have its original moments, especially in its non-linear storytelling but it on its own is not good or powerful enough to make the movie really any interesting.

The cast consists out of some really impressive names, mainly the supporting cast. Actors such as James Garner, Sam Shepard and Joan Allen help to make the movie an extra respectable one and they add a certain bit of extra. Really great in this movie was James Marsden. Lots of people criticize him for his part in the X-Men movies, in which he is quite boring but when you watch him in this movie and others you'll notice that he is actually nothing less than a greatly talented actor. The leading actors Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling are obviously not just mainly cast for their acting skills but more because of their 'natural' style and look. Every guy should be able to identify himself with Noah and every girl should be able to identify herself with Allie. They deliver their lines in a very natural way and the help to make the story more believable than it in fact really is.

Still I feel that the romance in this movie is flawed. It never becomes obvious what it is that makes Allie so great and perfect for Noah and vice versa and why their love is so much more special and powerful than anyone else's. It never gets fully obvious or explained in the movie, at least not to my satisfaction.

But for most part the professional cast & crew overcome the movie its clichés and weaknesses, until the ending. The ending was completely unnecessary, over-the-top and just mainly totally unlikely and unbelievable. You can say that it sort of ruined the movie its romantic and powerful feeling for me. I would had seriously rated this movie a 8 out of 10, right until the last couple of minutes. The movie should had ended earlier on and abandoned this crazy, unlikely, over-sentimental ending.

Still I feel that due to its professionalism involved, I'm talking about both cast & crew, this movie is still way better than just another cliché filled romantic 'chick-flick'. Even if you aren't into these sort of movies (like myself), this movie is worth seeing and worth your time. It's beautifully made and really no bore to watch, despite the obvious moments and stereotypical clichés.

See this movie for the whole package, not just the story.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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