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This Valentine’s Day I picked a notoriously slushy romance for the girlfriend and I to watch, one that neither of us had seen but I had a copy of lying around the house. This tale of forbidden love separated by class and parental aspiration stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams and pulls no punches along the way. That is, except for the present day wraparound narrative involving James Garner and Gena Rowlands. Their connection to the main tale should come as no surprise, but it’s curious to see Nick Cassavetes cast his own mother (Rowlands) in a role eerily similar to one she created for his father John many years before in A Woman Under The Influence. All in all, The Notebook delivers as a cheesy romance and is perfect Valentine’s Day viewing. But it is never quite able to connect its two tales in a satisfying way.

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