A very old-fashioned tale of love across the years, this drama is aimed squarely at anyone who’s a sucker for slushy romance, and has already gained a cult audience among teenage girls. It’s based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, whose Mills and Boon-like stories have also appeared on the screen as the sweet teen drama A Walk to Remember and schmaltzy fortysomething romance Message in a Bottle. So get those hankies (or a sick bucket, depending on your tolerance for these things) at the ready.
In the present day, an old man (James Garner) reads a story of young love to an elderly woman (Gena Rowlands) with Alzheimer’s. The story he tells is of the 1940s summer romance between rich girl Allie (McAdams) and local boy Noah (Gosling), who fall in love but are then separated when an inconvenient world war – and her parents – intervene.
Director Cassavetes – star Rowlands’s son – mixes the teenage love story with the present-day relationship between Garner and Rowlands (yes, you guessed it, they are the ageing Noah and Allie, though she doesn’t remember). It’s extremely sentimental stuff – all luscious scenery, lakes filled with beautiful swans and glistening sunsets – that’s pretty predictable in the flashback scenes, but thanks to four sweet performances from the old and young leads, a three-hankie weepie nonetheless.
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