If every Christmas means turning on the TV to catch the umpteenth rerun of Love Actually, then the Valentine’s Day equivalent must be The Notebook, the film based on the New York Times’ best-selling novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. While most of us watch The Notebook for it’s tearjerking plot (quick refresher: Noah tells his wife Allie the tale of how they met, were separated and reunited. Allie, a dementia sufferer, is gripped by the tale – told in flashback with Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as their younger selves – and has a lucid moment where she realises the story is about her and her husband. The character wrote the story down herself and instructed Noah to read it to her so she would ‘come back’ to him), Ryan Gosling’s good looks or the striking scenes filled with sea birds at sunset to dilapidated mansions by candlelight, let’s instead focus on one aspect of the movie which deserves more attention this Valentine’s Day:
Ryan Gosling, according to esteemed film critic Roger Ebert, “is one of the best actors of his generation” and we can only agree: who else can make lines fully topped with cheese so believable?
Gosling, a well-known method actor, prepared for the role of young Noah by not only residing in Charleston, South Carolina to get a feel for the location, but also rowing down the Ashley River and building furniture to get into character – the wooden table that Noah uses in the movie, for example, was crafted by Gosling. Such determination and dedication to fully assume his character is admirable.
What makes Gosling’s feat even more impressive is the fact that he hated working with co-star Rachel McAdams, who plays his character’s love interest, Allie. Gosling even requested Director Nick Cassevetes to bring in a replacement for her during his takes so he could at least look at someone else. Gosling recounted, “we inspired the worst in each other. It was a strange experience, making a love story and not getting along with your co-star in any way”. Interestingly enough, Gosling’s and McAdams’ on-screen kiss that went on to win MTV Best Kiss Award and Best Movie Kiss of All-Time by Entertainment Weekly ironically sparked a much publicised romance between the pair.