It’s said that one of the best ways to rid yourself of toxins is to empty your tear ducts. Crying, like laughing, is a healing act. To reach your quota of lacrimation, or tearing, I recommend The Notebook. The movie appears to be standard poor boy meets rich girl. And that’s partly true of this movie. Social pressures eventually push them apart in a heartbreaking scene. You can predict what happens by the end. Do they get back together? Well, of course they do. It’s Hollywood and that’s just the way it is.
Still, there’s a twist to it all and you can see it coming a mile away. But it doesn’t matter. This film is designed for maximum lacrimation. It’s best not to fight it.
The cast is stellar, with all kinds of little gems of performances from the supporting cast, from the easy rural elegance of Sam Shepard, the heartbroken charm of James Marsden, and the poignant regret of Joan Allen. It’s an idealized world, where everyone has good intentions, of a pre-Civil Rights South where black folks and white folks play banjo on the porch together, and a blue-collar single parent makes his son recite Walt Whitman to cure him of stuttering.
Rachel McAdams shines in the starring role. But James Garner and Gena Rowlands steal the show as the couple in their twilight years, as Rowlands’ character deals with Alzheimer’s and Garner’s character patiently tries to remind her of their love.
Usually a Hollywood love story ends with a couple at the beginning of a relationship. Rarely does it reflect on the well-worn love story from the perspective of a shared life-long love.