The Notebook


Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 34
  2. Negative: 3 out of 34

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Critic Reviews

  1. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    A lovely surprise. Ripe with feeling and lush with physical beauty, it's a love story that swings confidently between age and youth, and, like the young Tiger Woods of old, avoids every trap along the way.
  2. 88
    The director is Nick Cassavetes, son of Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes, and perhaps his instinctive feeling for his mother helped him find the way past soap opera in the direction of truth.
  3. If you're the sort who enjoys shedding such in darkened theaters, your must-see summer movie has arrived.
  4. May be corny, but it's also absorbing, sweet and powerfully acted. It's a film about falling in love and looking back on it, and it avoids many of the genre's syrupy dangers.
  5. An old-fashioned and occasionally schmaltzy movie that delivers an emotional wallop
  6. 75
    The Notebook is well worth the risk of diabetic shock for the sake of superb acting that transcends its teary milieu.
  7. The scenes between the young lovers confronting adult authority have the same seething tension and lurking hysteria that the young Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood brought more than 40 years ago to their roles in "Splendor in the Grass."
  8. 70
    Audiences craving big, gooey over-the-top romance have their must-see summer movie in The Notebook.
  9. 70
    Overall, The Notebook is a surprisingly good film that manages to succeed where many other "chick flick" like romances fail.
  10. What a glorious weepie The Notebook might have been if they’d just found a way to get rid of the damned notebook.
  11. Doesn't completely work on its own terms, mainly because its romantic casting just doesn't spark: It doesn't make us fall in love with its lovers.
  12. 63
    Sadly, the elements that made the book special did not survive the transition to the screen.
  13. We get pleasure watching two sets of likeable, convincing actors move toward their foreordained futures. The film's affecting ending proves familiarity needn't breed contempt, after all.
  14. Dramatically speaking, the movie version of The Notebook has a first act and a last act but lacks a transition. If it were a sandwich, it would be two slices of bread without filling.
  15. 63
    Considering the sunny, relatively pleasurable romantic business that precedes it, the elderly stuff seems dark, morbid, and forced upon us.
  16. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    A gifted cast was bogged down by a treacly tale.
  17. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    A determined and often affecting romance that doesn't speak down to audiences.
  18. 60
    Amid the sticky-sweet swamp of Jeremy Leven's script, Rowlands and Garner emerge spotless and beatific, lending a magnanimous credibility to their scenes together. These two old pros slice cleanly through the thicket of sap-weeping dialogue and contrivance, locating the terror and desolation wrought by the cruel betrayals of a failing mind.
  19. May be one hundred percent sap, but its spirit is anything but cloying, thanks to persuasive performances, most notably from Rachel McAdams.
  20. You know what you want to see if you want to see The Notebook...You want to see girls in pretty 1940s dresses, soldiers in stirring World War II uniforms, handsome automobiles and equally handsome Southern landscapes. You want to see romance overcome adversity.
  21. Rowlands is superb, as usual, and Garner partners her with the grace of a dancer. Cassavetes's directing style is slow and stilted, though, indicating yet again that his notion of moviemaking is the opposite of everything his father, the great John Cassavetes, stood for.
  22. 50
    You won't necessarily applaud The Notebook's excesses, but its final moments of grace will leave you in a sodden heap on the theater floor.
  23. 50
    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 to the British drama "Iris."
  24. Cassavetes isn't much of a director and he never settles on a mood, which he seems intent on ruining with hiccups of goofiness. But there's an underlying humanity to his scenes, a sense that movies are made by people for other people.
  25. 50
    Cassavetes' film is unusually well-acted and lovely to look at, but his wholehearted embrace of saccharine melodrama and tendency to let scenes ramble on long after their point has been expressed makes for some slow going.
  26. 50
    To their credit, director Nick Cassavetes and screenwriter Jeremy Leven heighten the melodrama and seize on the most distinctive strokes of Nicholas Sparks' bland best seller.
  27. The Notebook is meant to be a romantic weepy, and you will shed tears - but only from the consistent and exhausting effort of trying to control your gag reflex. Even a body that welcomes a sugar fix will repel a sugar invasion.
  28. Hs a single goal: to prod your tear ducts to open up. It is very, very good at this task. Whether The Notebook is good in any other respect is a bit more complicated.
  29. Mercilessly plodding pacing, problematic character motivations and a fundamental lack of chemistry between the two star-crossed lovers in question don't do a lot to help its cause.
  30. 40
    Opening shots tend to say a lot about a movie, but they say everything about The Notebook, a glossy adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' four-hanky sudser.
  31. 40
    From the first soft piano that accompanies white geese flying toward a humongous orange sunset, The Notebook racks up the sugary clichés till you’re screaming for mercy.
  32. 25
    I have the same allergic reaction to this open faucet of tear-jerking swill as I do to the 1996 Nicholas Sparks novel that inspired it.
  33. Two hours of the worst sort of sentimental sap.
  34. 20
    The movie not only approaches a level of shamelessness you have to see to disbelieve, it does it in a manner that's both inept and crass.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 449 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 82 out of 105
  2. Negative: 10 out of 105
  1. Feb 20, 2014
    The most famous thing about The Notebook is probably how it is universally hated by men but loved by women. I don't hate it, but it isThe most famous thing about The Notebook is probably how it is universally hated by men but loved by women. I don't hate it, but it is definitely weak and overrated. The performances are good, especially from Ryan Gosling who luckily is now picking much better projects to work on. But the plot is predictable and cliched, despite many claiming it is one of the most original story lines ever. Just because a story happened in the past doesn't mean it isn't straightforward. I guessed the so called twist within the first 5 minutes (seriously that is not an exaggeration). Towards the end it gets a bit stronger and I can understand why fans call it the most emotional ending to any movie ever. To be honest The Notebook is not worth watching and is nowhere near as good as most say it is. Thank god the critics have more sense than the general public. Full Review »
  2. Aug 15, 2011
    I recommend this movie to many people. Because it is very nice and moved story. This is about love story. The main character is old man whoI recommend this movie to many people. Because it is very nice and moved story. This is about love story. The main character is old man who loves one old woman. In the last scene, you must be cry. It is famous movie in America. I love this story! Full Review »
  3. Nov 13, 2013
    I’ve heard people refer to “The Notebook” as cheesy, as a ‘chick flick’ (a label very few of my colleagues can stand because of its negativeI’ve heard people refer to “The Notebook” as cheesy, as a ‘chick flick’ (a label very few of my colleagues can stand because of its negative connotation), as predictable and sappy. So “The Notebook” doesn’t exactly take a brain surgeon to guess how the story is going to play out. And it does unapologetically play on your emotions, practically begging you to squeeze out a few tears. But here’s why I enjoyed “The Notebook”: it’s a movie you can relax and let flow over you. It’s also one of the few films out there that tells a complete story. There’s a well-defined beginning, middle, and end. “The Notebook” is a gentle romantic tale in the midst of blockbuster action films and goofball comedies. It could be argued that releasing it in mid-June is counter-programming at its best, giving adults who don’t want their senses assailed by CGI special effects a real choice at the box office. But you have to wonder if “The Notebook” would have stood a better chance of finding the right audience had it been released later in the year, when moviegoers are really ready for more intense storytelling, than during the crowded summer months. The Notebook” isn’t just a film for women. It’s a movie for anyone who wants to get lost in a beautiful story, for anyone who believes romance is still alive on film. Full Review »