The Notebook (2004)


A fine performance from James Garner is not enough to redeem this ickily artifical tearjerker, which uses senile dementia as a vehicle for cheap sentiment.

In an old people's home, a man is trying to remind his uncomprehending wife of the life they have shared by retelling the story of their courtship, which we see in flashback.
And without that wraparound story, the main body of the film - a forties set across-the-tracks romance - would seem even less substantial and original than it does in context. (It's all very Titanic, and even less effective.)
As usual, no attempt is made to create a sense of period beyond a fussy perfectionism of set dressing and backgrounds, and the young cast prove entirely incapable of conveying the effect their characters' life trajectories would have on them as they (supposedly) age.
It is only fair to add that this film enjoys a large following and is generally felt to be both moving and emotionally satisfying: a disappointing reflection, perhaps, on how easy it now is to press people's buttons.