Two good, young performers and a couple of not-too-shabby older ones not only make The Notebook
worth watching but distinguish the film as one of the year’s more pleasant surprises. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams are utterly convincing as a young romantic couple, with James Garner and Gena Rowlands touching and heartbreaking as two hospital-bound friends sharing stories from a handwritten notebook. Gosling and McAdams play two lovers in the ’40s who must overcome great obstacles to stay together. McAdams, best known for her evil turns in Mean Girls
and The Hot Chick
, will probably be one of Hollywood’s hottest actresses after this film (there’s a rumor that she will star in the big-screen adaptation of Fantastic Four
). If syrupy, saccharine, sweet romances tend to make you sick, then don’t worry about this one. This is a love story with a major dab of harsh reality, and the tears it induces are well earned.