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Summer Lovin', 1940s Style

Summer is full of super-sized, computer-generated movies — which makes "The Notebook" (search) a refreshing treat for those looking for some simple romance.

The movie, which opens this weekend, portrays an old-fashioned story of forbidden love based on the best-selling book by Nicholas Sparks (search).

The film's plot revolves around an old notebook that an elderly man (James Garner) reads to a woman (Gena Rowlands) in a nursing home.

It follows the lives of wealthy, big-city girl Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams (search)) and local, working-class boy Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling), who meet while Allie's spending a summer with her family on the Carolina coast.

Noah pursues Allie brazenly, and although their vastly different social standings should dictate otherwise, they fall in wild, teenage love.

Her parents (David Thornton and Joan Allen) don't approve. Allie and Noah fight about their future together, realize they don't have one, and go their separate ways. She heads off to college at Sarah Lawrence and finds a hunky, rich fiance (James Marsden). Noah heads off to World War II before returning to his small town and renovating a run-down plantation. But they never get over each other.

Gosling said the chemistry between his character and McAdams' was apparent at his co-star's audition.

"We saw lots of really talented actresses, but Rachel was the only one that kind of came in and she just knew the character," he told FOX News.

"She knew exactly what she wanted and she was the person that was going to fight with us, you know about how it should be, and that's what we wanted. We didn't want somebody that was gonna be easily swayed ... and so as soon as she came in I think, yes, there was chemistry and we knew it."

While some of the love scenes are steamy, McAdams said they were all "very specific and planned out."

Gosling wasn't so gung-ho for the lovin'.

"I was hesitant, because I've never done anything like it and I never really saw myself doing kind of a romantic film or anything," he told FOX News. 

But he said he grew more comfortable with the romance and greatly enjoyed working on the movie overall.

"I think the benefit of being an actor is the fact that you get to sort of ... expose yourself to things you wouldn't necessarily if you're kind of like stuck in your own life."

The New York Post calls McAdams a "classic beauty," and says the movie "announces the 25-year-old newcomer ... as a superstar-in-waiting ... with a high-wattage smile that rivals Julia Roberts'."

McAdams, who recently starred in "Mean Girls," told the paper she felt very comfortable getting into the 1940s-set and wearing many beautiful, era-specific outfits.

"I feel like maybe I should have been born in [the 1940s] or even further back, when things seemed simpler," she told the Post. "I know that's a myth, but the modern world gives me a headache sometimes."

She also likes the notion of plain-old romance.

"I guess I'm just a true believer in love and how miraculous it can be," she said. "I'm not terribly jaded yet — I've had some wonderful loves in my life, enough to know it's something I want to have forever."

FOX News' Amy C. Sims, Mike Waco and The Associated Press contributed to this report.