The Notebook

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Total Count: 35


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User Ratings: 597
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Movie Info

Towards the end of World War II, a desperate young mother leaves her 13‐year‐old twin sons at their grandmother's house in the Hungarian countryside, despite the fact that this grandmother is a cruel and bestial alcoholic. Previously pampered, the twins must learn how to survive alone in their new, rural surroundings. They realize that the only way to cope with the absurd and inhumane world of adults and war is to become completely unfeeling and merciless. By learning to free themselves from hunger, pain and emotion, they will be able to endure future hardships. So they begin their own series of studies: they fortify their spirits by reading the Bible and learning foreign languages. They practice every day to harden their bodies and minds. They hold their hands over flames, cut their legs, arms and chests with a knife and pour alcohol right on their wounds. They desensitize themselves to insults and learn to ignore the more insidious appeals of sentiment and love. The twins keep a written record of all they have witnessed during the war, Le Grand Cahier (The Notebook). Over time they are initiated into the corruptions and horrors of a war‐torn world. They have to listen to a lecherous priest's hypocritical avowals of faith, they watch soldiers herd refugees to their death and witness the selfish cruelties their neighbors inflict on one another. As the war ends, the "Liberation" brings the worst moments of all: their village and their few relationships are plagued by rape and suicide. Their mother returns for a brief, gruesome reunion and their father follows suit in a final tableau involving patricide and opportunism, leading to the twin's ultimate separation. (c) Sony Classics

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Critic Reviews for The Notebook

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (17)

  • The relentless calamity becomes a grind, offering few insights beyond ones that are obvious in the first half hour.

    Oct 2, 2014 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • In adapting the novel, Szasz and screenwriters Tom Abrams and Andras Szeker tread carefully, leaving a lot to the imagination ...

    Sep 26, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A bleak, despairing testament to the cruelty of war, and how it mangles and defaces everyone it touches.

    Sep 26, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • If only I could figure out what all this was meant to stand for.

    Sep 25, 2014 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Thoroughly unpleasant and at the same time completely unedifying.

    Sep 18, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Not a movie for those who insist on happy resolutions, "The Notebook" is instead a study in how the nihilistic worldview that clouds the collective Eastern Europe sensibility came to be.

    Sep 11, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

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