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The notebook

Behind every great love is a great story. Based on the best selling book from Nicholas Sparks, two teenagers from opposite sides of the tracks fall in love during one summer together, but are tragically forced apart. When they reunite seven years later, their passionate romance is rekindled, forcing one of them to choose between true love and class order. - (Alert)

A boy from the wrong side of the tracks falls in love with a rich girl, and it seems no one approves of the relationship. - (Baker & Taylor)

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Adapted from a novel by Nicholas Sparks--who never met a romantic cliché, dramatic contrivance, transparent plot point, or insipid line of dialogue he didn't love--this self-serious soap opera is clogged with melodramatic treacle. Summer, 1940: when a beautiful, privileged Southern debutante falls in love with an earthy young mill worker, her high-and-mighty parents object. He writes every day, but her mother intercepts the letters, and the heartbroken girl doesn't find out until seven years later--when she's about to marry a generically-handsome war-hero Mr. Wonderful--that the heartbroken boy never stopped thinking about her, etc. However, even though The Notebook boasts not one single millisecond of originality, the beguiling, apple-cheeked Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls) and fervent, philosophical Ryan Gosling (The Believer) bring so much depth and emotional gravitas to their roles that it's hard not to become invested in their affair (James Garner and Gena Rowlands are also splendid in a contemporary wrap-around involving the latter's bout with Alzheimer's disease). A trite film, but also a shining example of how great acting can overcome even the worst script, The Notebook is a strong optional purchase. (R. Blackwelder) Copyright Video Librarian Reviews 2005.

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