What can I say about The Notebook? Like so many movies before it, it was released when rom-com movies such as Love Actually were the talk of Myspace (RIP). It seems unheard of now as I don’t remember the last rom-com I watched! They all seem to disappear into the abyss of Netflix. The early noughties, what a time for movies! The movie left a mark; I am a sucker for an emotional meltdown during a movie (Titanic springs to mind), so you could forgive me for being emotionally invested in this movie 15 years later. So I rewatched it on Netflix, the mature woman in her late thirties with two kids and a better understanding of love and romance, but then I thought about 5 things The Notebook can teach us about love, which inspired me.
“It was real, wasn’t it? You and me. Such a long time ago, we were just a couple of kids. But we really loved each other, didn’t we?”Allie, The Notebook
After all these years, it’s almost impossible to watch The Notebook and not cry a tear or five and please don’t be fooled. I have rewatched The Notebook many times since its release. A girl’s night needs no excuse for such an emotional journey, but it wasn’t a fan favourite despite my love of the movie and a soft spot for Ryan Gosling. It was a low budget movie with quite unwell known actors back then. On Rotton Tomatoes, it has a score of 53%, but not all great movies are treated equally, and most of the positive reviews were from critics.
These days, it’s not unusual to watch a movie and later find out that it’s based on a book adaptation. More often and not, with scripts drying up, producers and studios turn to bestsellers to make a few quid. The Notebook was released in October 1996; this year marks the 25th anniversary of the book’s release. The great thing about the book was that it had a different ending (I prefer the movie if you want to know), and it’s told in Noah’s POV, so it’s a nice change in the movie to see a little more of Allie. The movie was one of Nicholas Sparks’ most successful adaptions.
Noah is a small town country boy who takes a shine to Allie, an upper-class girl with disapproving parents, one summer only to be separated. The story is told in two time zones, the past and a diary being ready by Duke in a nursing home.
“The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. And that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I’d hoped to give you forever.”Noah, The Notebook
The famous rain kissing scene (heart against my chest) as every woman swoons worldwide at Noah’s declaration of love. “It wasn’t over. It still isn’t over.” Noah and Allie never had a straightforward romance, but neither cared for such a romance, as we see in the movie. This quote sums them up perfectly. I guess the gut retrenching truth is that although their love was powerful, love hurts, and it broke me.
The Iconic House
The house that Noah rebuilds in the movie is a big part of the plot. After the war, he buys a dilapidated house and spends his time repairing it to its former glory for Allie. The house used in the movie is located at Martins Point Plantation, historically known as Bears Bluff Plantation, on Wadmalaw Island. The filmmakers had considered finding a dilapidated house to film, which they could then renovate as the narrative progressed. However, they settled on using a beautiful home they could make look run down for the film’s earlier scenes.
The Notebook House is central to the plot. It’s where the couple spends a short time when they are young and in love, and after the war, Noah puts his heart and soul into the renovations in an attempt to impress Allie. The house eventually brings the two back together when Noah is photographed in the local paper alongside the house. The house was an integral part of Allie and Noah’s romance. “He got the notion into his head that if he restored the old house where they can come that night, Allie would find a way back to him.”
5 Things ‘The Notebook’ can teach us about love.
- Inspired by a true story – The plot was inspired by a true story. Writer Nicholas Sparks says the story “was inspired by my wife’s grandparents, two wonderful people who spent over 60 years together.” He clarifies, “Parts were true; parts were made up to benefit the story.”
- Take advantage of the seemingly small but beautiful moments life gives you – we sometimes forget that life is for living. The little moments matter and that was the great thing about Noah and Allie; they taught us that something small can become beautiful if you let it.
- You won’t always agree – You’ll get into arguments and disagree from time to time because no one’s perfect, but it’s how you cope with those disagreements. The making up after, for example!
- The heart wants what it wants – We can’t always control who we fall in love with, and it’s never rational or thought out. It just happens, and sometimes we should love more analyse less.
- Relationships aren’t always easy — in fact, sometimes they can be really, really hard. It is probably an obvious one, but I don’t think many of us can say our relationships have been plain sailing.
“Read this to me, and I’ll come back to you.”Allie, The Notebook
These are just a few reasons that maybe love isn’t so bad and Noah and Allie taught us that great things can happen in the end. If you haven’t watched The Notebook, it is worth a watch. Then read the book, and then once you’ve done that, read every Nicholas Sparks novel, then watch all the movie adaptions and tell me your favourite isn’t a Walk to Remember, but that is a whole other blog post.
Let me know in the comments below if you’ve seen the Notebook, haven’t seen the Notebook, whether you liked it or not and if it taught you anything about LOVE!