Notebook, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -1 1/2

This powerful love story is based on Nicholas Sparks' 1996 best-seller. As an elderly woman (Gena Rowlands) suffers with Alzheimer's in a hospital, her husband (James Garner) tries to trigger memories of their marriage by reading from a journal that chronicles their life-long love for each other. A problem arises early in the story as the young woman, Allie (Rachel McAdams), is shown to have been intensely in love with two men. As a 17-year-old debutante in Charleston, S.C., she falls for a young mill worker (Ryan Gosling) in 1940. But her mother (Joan Allen) intervenes and sends her off to college. After her college years, she is happily engaged to the new love of her life, a Southern gentleman (James Marsden). A chance encounter brings her face to face with her first love after many years apart. Allie is left with a heart-wrenching choice, revealing at last which man is reading their life story in the hospital room.

Allie's husband demonstrates a life-long commitment to his spouse - in sickness or in health. He never leaves her side, and his unfailing devotion and love for her is an inspiring portrait of marriage. In spite of how imperfect they were to each other, they persevered in their commitment to their vows to each other. The film did unfortunately contain an intimate sex scene between a man and woman outside of the context of marriage. There is some crude language and profanity, but it is moderate compared to many PG-13 films. The overall moral content of the film is less than admirable but is also comparatively mild. This film is a powerful story of love and commitment that serves as a good example of character, but the foul language and sexual activity earn it a negative Acceptability Rating.

Preview Reviewer: Troy Dandrea
New Line

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (11) times - mild (damn 5, hell 2); strong (SOB 2, -ss 2)

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Several (5) times - moderate (G 3); strong (GD 2)

Violence: Few times - mild (a girl pushes a guy)

Sex: Few times - mild (few scenes of sensual kissing, two scenes with a couple in bed); moderate (premarital sex, feeling breasts over clothes); strong (sounds and motions of sexual intercourse showing bare back of woman and chest of man with no private parts shown)

Nudity: Few times - mild (woman with bare back, nude men in a military line with no privates showing)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times - mild (few suggestive looks)

Drugs: Few times - (couple of scenes showing beer drinking as fun)

Other: Two appropriate uses of "God'

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.