The Notebook (2004): A Commentary
“The Notebook”, the famous (or infamous) film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ book of the same name is an interesting romance that mostly revolved around two people pining over each other for years because of the three-month span in which they had hung out as teenagers. Simply amazing.
To make it clear, I did not lose any bets, nor was I dared to watch this movie, nor was I forced to. I willingly watched this movie because I genuinely wanted to watch a romance and one of the more cliché examples (that is, this movie) was the first to pop into my head. I simultaneously regret and don’t regret this decision.
If it hasn’t already been implied, this article contains spoilers.
The movie starts with the eponymous notebook, as an elderly man narrates a story from it to a fellow female patient at a nursing home. The story is about a Noah and an Allie in 1940, chronicling their forbidden love across class boundaries — Noah, the working-class man, and Allie, the wealthy heiress. The romance doesn’t necessarily start immediately; first, Noah must jump onto the moving Ferris-Wheel where Allie sat, jump onto a bar as the wheel stops turning, leaving him hanging in mid-air, as he asks her out like the daredevil he is, much to her annoyance.
Seriously, Noah, you could have DIED. That, too, doing something that would have been super creepy and arrestable if you didn’t just happen to be the main character in a romance movie set in the 1940s. If it weren’t the case, we’d probably have to observe your harassment trial, but that might not be as interesting of a movie considering the open-shut case. So, I suppose we’ll go with her eventually falling in love with you anyway.
Their romance was quite eventful. Most notably, a scene showed them lying in the middle of an open street, staring at the stars while madly in love. Once again, Noah, what’s up with you and wanting to die? In your defense, I will admit that I did think it was sort of cute (especially since you didn’t get run over) but natural selection should have gotten to you both. How unreal.
The rest of the story read out from the notebook was a story of forbidden love; there was the unsurprising disapproval from parents, the moving away, a mother intercepting and hiding all the love letters, and enough more that you ended up forgetting the part where he threatened suicide and ignored her rejections, and you soon started feeling sorry for him. Poor Noah and Allie, if only a car actually ran over you two so that you wouldn’t have to face this misery.
The wait was perhaps worth it, however, since they eventually did find each other and got married, which is impressive.
Upon completion of the narration of this story, it is revealed that the elderly man is none other than Noah himself and the female patient is Allie. Oh, but here’s the real kicker: she has dementia so she has no recollection of their relationship, let alone their marriage. Setting aside the absurdity of the romance in their youth, this revelation was truly heartbreaking, especially when displayed alongside the apathy of their children against Noah’s insistence that, one day, she will remember.
One scene that truly struck me was when Noah actually ended up successful in making her remember, only for it to come crashing down within a few minutes. Allie’s dementia returns immediately while they share a dance, leaving her bewildered and panicked as to whom she was dancing with — her husband! But she didn’t know. Elderly Noah’s intense despondency at the turn of events tugged at my heartstrings, despite the lingering fact that this depiction of dementia was medically inaccurate. I don’t care though, damn it, this was sad!
The film does, however, give solace to the viewers by ending in a heartfelt scene. Noah climbs onto the hospital bed where his wife, Allie, lies and they share their hands by clasping them onto each other. At that moment, they fall asleep forever, for they pass away in eternal bliss together.
Granted, this scene may be a little cheesy. Nevertheless, I loved it, and I’m going to be unapologetic about that! Even if I know well how lame it is, nothing is going to stop me from appreciating that ending.
As a matter of fact, I appreciated the ending so much, that it actually made me completely forget that he once threatened suicide. Did I mention that? Oh, well, it was a decent movie. 7/10. Might recommend.