The Notebook

Rated 3.0 Two residents at a convalescent hospital (James Garner and Gena Rowlands) meet every day, and he reads to her from a journal about two young lovers during the 1940s (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams). Shameless manipulation seldom felt so good. The script (by Jeremy Leven and Jan Sardi, from Nicholas Sparks’ novel) is a real button pusher, stooping to one cheap trick after another, and director Nick Cassavetes and production designer Sarah Knowles compound the story’s emotional falsehood by being careless about period details. But somehow Cassavetes pulls it off—thanks mainly to sensitive performances and pretty Hallmark-card cinematography by Robert Fraisse. Memo to producers: If you want to hire Ryan Gosling, sign him up soon; after this movie’s been out a month, you may not be able to afford him.