At a modern-day nursing home, an elderly man, Duke, reads a romantic story from his notebook to a fellow patient.In 1940, Seabrook Island, South Carolina, poor quarry worker Noah Calhoun is smitten with 17-year-old heiress Allison "Allie" Hamilton after seeing her at a carnival, and they have a summer love affair, where they fall madly in love.Allie confesses to Lon that she has been spending time with Noah, and tells him she knows she should be with him, but she remains indecisive.Ultimately, she goes back to her relationship with Noah.She briefly remembers who he is and they reconcile, but soon forgets and panics, forcing medical personnel to sedate her.
She then gives Allie the letters that Noah wrote to her, admitting that she hid them from Allie.Gosling, who delivered a searing and largely unseen screen debut performance in the 2001 drama The Believer, is particularly convincing as a young man who charms his way past a girl's strongest defenses." About the film, she added: "Audiences craving big, gooey over-the-top romance have their must-see summer movie in The Notebook." William Arnold of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer praised the performance of Mc Adams but criticized the performance of Gosling, stating that he "just doesn't have the kind of star power or chemistry with Mc Adams to anchor this kind of minor-league Gone with the Wind." He also added about the film that it "doesn't completely work on its own terms, mainly because its romantic casting just doesn't spark: It doesn't make us fall in love with its lovers." Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe gave the film two-and-a-half stars, praising the performances of its cast members, writing about Mc Adams that "she's soulfully committed to the suds in the story and fiercely attentive to the other actors".He added about Gosling: "Gosling is adept at playing sociopaths and intense brooders, and there's reason to think, early on, that Noah might be similarly off, as when he threatens to drop from a Ferris wheel unless Allie agrees to go on a date with him." About the film, he wrote: "Considering the sunny, relatively pleasurable romantic business that precedes it, the elderly stuff seems dark, morbid, and forced upon us." Jessica Winter of The Village Voice gave the film a mixed review, stating: "Amid the sticky-sweet swamp of Jeremy Leven's script, Rowlands and Garner emerge spotless and beatific, lending a magnanimous credibility to their scenes together.In the present, it is revealed that the elderly woman is Allie, who is suffering from dementia.Duke is actually Noah, and was told by Allie during the onset of her illness to reread their journals to help her remember.When Noah returns from the war, his father has sold their home so that Noah can buy the abandoned house.