The Notebook | Chicago Reader

The Notebook

The title refers to a handwritten story, set in the 1940s, that elderly James Garner reads to a spaced-out Gena Rowlands as she lives out her final days in a geriatric hospital; interspersed with these scenes are dramatized episodes from the story, a horribly trite romance between a poor boy (Ryan Gosling) and a rich girl (Rachel McAdams) whose genteel mother (Joan Allen) considers him "trash, trash, trash!" The connection between the two narratives is supposed to be a big, heartbreaking surprise, though I figured it out well in advance and spent the interim unfavorably comparing this greatest-generation hanky wringer (2004) to the British drama Iris. Nick Cassavetes directed; with Sam Shepard.

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