We all loved the notebook when it came out. Heck it even won an award for “Best Kiss in a Movie”. But 13 years later, the romantic glitter is beginning to clear from our eyes and some relationship experts are now picking holes in the movie.
“The Notebook has a lot to explain,” says Carlie Williams, a matchmaking specialist. But don’t all movies?
Personally, I believe the idea of movies, while somewhat realistic, should catapult us to a dreamy reality that we long to experience. When a film, especially a romantic comedy, imitates life to the letter, then it can no longer be cine art, but a documentary. That is just me but I digress. What are experts saying about The Notebook?
A short summary of the movie
This article contains spoilers, sorry it can’t be helped. So, if you are yet to see The Notebook, abandon that rock you are under and hit up Netflix, see the movie, and come back to this piece.
The Notebook was originally a novel written by Nicholas Sparks; tearjerker author extraordinaire and writer of sappy love stories. His other notable works include Message in a Bottle, The Vow, A Walk to Remember and Safe Haven just to mention a few. All are tearjerkers. Here is a tip, if you are going to see a romantic movie, and it was written by Nicholas Sparks, take a box of Kleenex along with you.
In the Notebook, we are taken through the life of two star-crossed lovers Noah and Allie, played by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. Although they are now in their seventies, the main part of the movie is set when they were in their twenties.
Both lovers are separated by class. While Allie is the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant, Noah is the town’s lumber boy. Their love though very strong is butted on all sides by forces of man and nature alike. At some point, they are separated from each other for 13 whole years, except one summer where the two meet and rekindle their love.
The movie is telling the story in retrospect. Allie now a grandmother lies in hospital with dementia, surrounded by her family. But Noah, her husband, is by her side reading the contents of a notebook he wrote with accounts of their cherished life together. Sometimes, Allie recalls her surroundings and remembers, other times she is lost in a fugue, unable to even recognise who Noah is. Undeterred, he reads on, staying by her bed every day. If nothing could separate them all those times years ago, nothing would now. Not even dementia.
The problem with The Notebook
Despite major obstacles, Noah goes through impressive lengths to prove his love. He builds her a house, literally. He even adds a room for her to paint. He writes her letters for every single day they are apart (it never gets to her because her parents disapprove and hide them), they kiss passionately under the rain and more.
According to Carlie Williams, these are idealized versions of romance and do not happen exactly in a typical life story. “It is misleading and pressures people to aspire to the impossible. When people, especially much younger couples watch these movies, they have a high, often false expectation of love,” she says.
I like a good story, and I can tell when a director is making a creative hyperbole. But it won’t stop me from enjoying The Notebook every time I see it. How about you?