The Notebook is the pinnacle of romance without getting sickly sweet. It's an early to mid 20th century mentality with a bit of modernism.
The good. Very captivating and emotional story. Great acting. Excellent period setting, sets, and costumes. Well paced scenario. Nice slow music. Superb photography.
The actors. Ryan Gosling is quite charming, in a very affirmative and slightly obsessive way. Rachel McAdams is sweet, intelligent, and fiery. James Marsden plays the beau to perfection. Joan Allen is just detestable as the controlling southern mother.
The bad. The CG geese in the intro are so fake they're blinding. And the "now" part of the flick is just not as well put together, not as slick, as the past.
The ugly. Nothing.
The result. A flick highly recommended for the hopelessly romantic.