Blu-ray Review: The Notebook (Ultimate Collector’s Edition)

If there ever is a film that seems purposefully designed to bring women to movie theatres it usually has the phrase “based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks” somewhere in the trailer. And it all traces back to The Notebook, the best known of the films that have been adapted from his works.

It follows a simple story. In the present we find an old married couple (James Garner, Gena Rowlands) in the hospital as she’s dying. We shoot back to the 1940s to meet them as youngsters as a pair of star-crossed lovers from different sides of the track. She’s from a rich family, you see, and he’s poor. Thus they have to fight for their love and such. It’s a poorly-written version of “Romeo and Juliet,” of course, but for some reason it has gathered a considerable audience over the years because of its lead stars.

Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams have remarkable chemistry together that carries an otherwise predictable film.

It’s why the film holds up over the years despite “Nicholas Sparks Romantic Drama” becoming both a genre and a drinking game over the years because of its clichés, staples and otherwise lackluster adherence to formula. McAdams and Gosling, a staple of Canadian gossip magazines for a long time because of their real life romance, have that special sort of chemistry that few romantic films have. It’s a rare, special chemistry between the two that carries a fairly lackluster film.

If you’ve seen one romantic drama about a couple from opposite sides of the tracks you’ve seen them all and The Notebook is no exception. It has tremendous chemistry but it isn’t a well done or interesting story. We know they’ll be together at the end of the film but how they get there isn’t exciting, interesting or in anyways new or original. It’s the same tired, cliché driven shenanigans but without anything special to them.

We can get into the film because Gosling and McAdams are just that good, and have that good of chemistry, but it’s not a great film by any means. It’s not even a good one.

There’s a 96-page journal and a collectible locket for super fans of the film as well as a half dozen postcards to use as well. There are four featurettes that add a little bit back into the film. The screen test of Rachel McAdams is also included, for nostalgic purposes.

Warner Bros. presents The Notebook . Directed by Nick Cassavetes. Written by Jeremy Leven and Jan Sardi, based of the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. Starring Ryan Gosling, Rachel MacAdams, James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Joan Allen, James Marsden. Running time: 124 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released: April 2013. Available at

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