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'The Notebook" cuts between the same couple at two seasons in their lives. We see them in the urgency of young romance, and then we see them as old people, she disappearing into the shadows of Alzheimer's, he steadfast in his love. It is his custom every day to read to her from a notebook that tells the story of how they met and fell in love and faced obstacles to their happiness. Sometimes, he says, if only for a few minutes, the clouds part and she is able to remember who he is and who the story is about.

We all wish Alzheimer's could permit such moments. For a time, in the earlier stages of the disease, it does. But when the curtain comes down, there is never another act and the play is over. "The Notebook" is a sentimental fantasy, but such fantasies are not harmful; we tell ourselves stories every day, to make life more bearable. The reason we cried during " Terms of Endearment " was not because the mother was dying, but because she was given the opportunity for a dignified and lucid parting with her children. In life it is more likely to be pain, drugs, regret and despair.

The lovers are named Allie Nelson and Noah Calhoun, known as Duke. As old people they're played by Gena Rowlands and James Garner . As young people, by Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling . The performances are suited to the material, respecting the passion at the beginning and the sentiment at the end, but not pushing too hard; there is even a time when young Noah tells Allie, "I don't see how it's gonna work," and means it, and a time when Allie gets engaged to another man.

She's a rich kid, summering at the family's mansion in North Carolina. He's a local kid who works at the sawmill but is smart and poetic. Her parents are snobs. His father ( Sam Shepard ) is centered and supportive. Noah loves her the moment he sees her, and actually hangs by his hands from a bar on a Ferris wheel until she agrees to go out with him. Her parents are direct: "He's trash. He's not for you." One day her mother ( Joan Allen ) shows her a local working man, who looks hard-used by life, and tells Allie that 25 years ago she was in love with him. Allie thinks her parents do not love each other, but her mother insists they do; still, Allen is such a precise actress that she is able to introduce the quietest note of regret into the scene.

The movie is based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks , whose books inspired "Message in a Bottle" (1999), unloved by me, and " A Walk to Remember " (2002), which was so sweet and positive it persuaded me (as did Mandy Moore as its star). Now here is a story that could have been a tearjerker, but -- no, wait, it is a tearjerker, it's just that it's a good one. The director is Nick Cassavetes , son of Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes , and perhaps his instinctive feeling for his mother helped him find the way past soap opera in the direction of truth.

Ryan Gosling has already been identified as one of the best actors of his generation, although usually in more hard-edged material. Rachel McAdams, who just a few months ago was the bitchy high school queen in " Mean Girls ," here shows such beauty and clarity that we realize once again how actors are blessed by good material. As for Gena Rowlands and James Garner: They are completely at ease in their roles, never striving for effect, never wanting us to be sure we get the message. Garner is an actor so confident and sure that he makes the difficult look easy, and loses credit for his skill. Consider how simply and sincerely he tells their children: "Look, guys, that's my sweetheart in there." Rowlands, best-known for high-strung, even manic characters, especially in films by her late husband, here finds a quiet vulnerability that is luminous.

The photography by Robert Fraisse is striking in its rich, saturated effects, from sea birds at sunset to a dilapidated mansion by candlelight to the texture of Southern summer streets. It makes the story seem more idealized; certainly the retirement home at the end seems more of heaven than of earth.

And the old mansion is underlined, too, first in its decay and then in its rebirth; young Noah is convinced that if he makes good on his promise to rebuild it for Allie, she will come to live in it with him, and paint in the studio he has made for her. ("Noah had gone a little mad," the notebook says.) That she is engaged to marry another shakes him but doesn't discourage him.

We have recently read much about Alzheimer's because of the death of Ronald Reagan. His daughter Patti Davis reported that just before he died, the former president opened his eyes and gazed steadily into those of Nancy, and there was no doubt that he recognized her.

Well, it's nice to think so. Nice to believe the window can open once more before closing forever.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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Film credits.

The Notebook movie poster

The Notebook (2004)

Rated PG-13 for some sexuality

123 minutes

Rachel McAdams as Young Allie Nelson

Ryan Gosling as Young Noah Calhoun

Gena Rowlands as Allie Nelson

James Garner as Noah Calhoun

Joan Allen as Allie's Mother

Heather Wahlquist as Sara Tuffington

Nancy De Mayo as Mary Allen Calhoun

Sylvia Jefferies as Rosemary

Directed by

  • Nick Cassavetes
  • Jeremy Leven

Based on the novel by

  • Nicholas Sparks

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Home — Essay Samples — Literature — The Notebook — Tension, Conflict, Deceit And Development In The Film The Notebook


Tension, Conflict, Deceit and Development in The Film The Notebook

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Published: Jun 9, 2021

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the notebook movie review essay

The Notebook Movie Review: a Timeless Tale of Love

How it works

  • 1.1 Childhood Aspirations and Early Challenges
  • 1.2 University Life and Finding Her Calling
  • 2 Breakthrough Role in “The Notebook”
  • 3.1 Delving into Thriller: “Red Eye”
  • 3.2 Continued Success with “Southpaw” and “Spotlight”
  • 4.1 References

A Serendipitous Beginning to a Stellar Career

This inspiring young woman found her calling in a last-minute theatre intervention. She is one of the most outstanding Canadian actresses in North America. After her decision on cultural studies, a teacher pulled her to the side. She asked her about acting. After this conversation, she changed her mind to acting. Now she has played in multiple hit movies. Rachel McAdams is a known actress in North America because of her role in The Notebook, Wedding Crashers, and many other great movies.

Childhood Aspirations and Early Challenges

Rachel as a child, had always wanted to be in musicals and figure skating. Later, she chose to be a culture studier. Since Rachel was very young, she dreamed of being in musicals. When she was twelve, that opportunity opened up when she signed up for Disney Camp. She was embarrassed because she was dancing with eight-year-old future Broadway stars that were singing at the top of their lungs like they had done it since two(Abbey, 2006). In the beginning, she was so clumsy she wanted to run home and cry. Since Rachel was so athletic, she competed with other individuals in figure skating. She had done it from four years old to sixteen. While in high school, she found solo skating. She labeled it as a “fairly ruthless sport in terms of time and energy.”

University Life and Finding Her Calling

Later, she teamed up with a synchronized skating group, where things lightened up a little more. “We wore costumes and blue eyeshadow up to our eyebrows and a bottle of hairspray each,” Rachel said with a laugh. Before graduation, Rachel’s drama teacher called her to an intervention because of her choice to go to York University in Toronto for culture studies and steered her toward acting. “She literally grabbed me the day before university applications were due and said, ‘Why aren’t you going into theatre?'” Rachel said. It ignited something that was there, but she hadn’t been brave enough to follow through with it. After their talk, she quickly steered toward acting. She went to York University for a bachelor’s degree in theatre studies. Rachel accomplished her dream of being in musicals and figure skating. She also found acting as her career.

Breakthrough Role in “The Notebook”

Rachel’s biggest opportunity of being a great actress rolled up when The Notebook was calling auditions. In the making of The Notebook(2004), the director was looking for a feisty young southern girl who was strong, irresistible, and honest to play Allie, a girl who falls in love with a handsome but unsuitable sawmill boy named Duke. Nick Cassavetes, the director of The Notebook, wanted a girl who would say, “I’m the one you want. I know how to play as Allie. Shut up and roll the film. Rachel was a strong character in this movie. They couldn’t have done it without her.

When The Notebook’s script came out, Rachel was one of the first to read it. As she read it, she couldn’t stop crying. It’s a big, sweeping, epic love story. This is the biggest and best film she has ever played in, and she is the main character. She described herself as a hopeless romantic, a softie, and a smooshy person. It’s a very honest and pure love story, and they aren’t told as much as they should be. The Notebook is a love story told as a series of flashbacks from the present day, as an elderly man reads chapters from a notebook to his wife, who has Alzheimer’s (Abbey, 2006). After this movie, she grew up a little bit, and she couldn’t go back. Her last movie playing as a sixteen-year-old would be Mean Girls. She is moving on. After her big hit in The Notebook, Rachel went on to play in more mature adult films.

Branching Out: Comedy and New Friendships

One of Rachel’s best comedies showed up in the release of Wedding Crashers. In the making of Wedding Crashers, a movie in that Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughan crash weddings and pick up women. Rachel played as a bridesmaid at the wedding they crashed. When Wilson falls in love with her, it causes a rift between the buddies(Abbey, 2006). Rachel said that Wilson always made her laugh before the shooting by saying something silly, making funny faces, and whispering to her before the cameras rolled. She said he also kept her on her toes. This movie was the beginning of her future comedies, and she made new friends along the way.

Delving into Thriller: “Red Eye”

Red Eye was Rachel’s first thriller movie and her best one yet. In Red Eye, a terrorist catches Rachel and tells her if she doesn’t help kill a government official, he will kill her father(Abbey, 2006). It’s a really dire situation. If she helps Jackson carry out his plan, she will be as much a murderer as he is. Red Eye takes place in an airplane cabin where the terrorist reveals who he is and what he is doing, and if Rachel doesn’t help, catastrophic events will happen to her dearest father. Red Eye has put Rachel in People magazine and showed she can out-act many great actresses.

Continued Success with “Southpaw” and “Spotlight”

Southpaw and Spotlight are also #1 movies. In 2015, Rachel starred in the drama, Southpaw, where she is the wife of Billy “The Great” Hope, a reigning junior middleweight boxing champion(Casey, 2018). Later, Billy hits rock bottom, losing his family, his house, and his manager. Finally, he finds a really good trainer, gets back on his feet, and gets his family back. She also played in Spotlight as an investigative journalist. She has to follow her crew to find a wanted child molester who abducted at least eighty young boys. They have to arrest him and find the children. Southpaw is rated at 7.4, and Spotlight is at 8.1(IMDb).

Rachel expressed her love for comedy in an interview. After Rachel was done casting for Game Night, a comedy that tells the story of a couple who get addicted to playing board games and find themselves trapped in a game night. She relates to this movie because her parents bought them board games every Christmas. They are a big gaming family. “I love doing comedy and physical comedy because it is endlessly challenging,” said Rachel. She is very competitive, but if it’s with new people, she goes easy on them(Infotrac Newsstand, 2018). Rachel wants to and will star in many more comedies in the future.

Reflecting on a Successful Journey

Rachel calls herself successful in many ways. When Rachel looks back at her past success and her future, she feels many emotions. She gets excited, intimidated, uncertain, engulfed in stress, and blissful all at the same time(Abbey, 2006). Opportunities are definitely coming up…being in a position to be able to choose[what role to play next]is very stressful, but very amazing, wonderful, and such a gift. Rachel is one of the most successful Canadian actresses in America.

Rachel loves being home and doing her regular daily activities. Rachel’s life, while not making movies, is full of fun, including riding her bike around town, gardening, cooking, and playing Ultimate Frisbee, a non-contact game that is mixed with football and soccer, with the neighborhood kids. She says that Ultimate Frisbee is social and more active than going to the gym. Rachel’s life comes to a screeching halt when she isn’t making movies because she can do what she enjoys with family and friends(Abbey, 2006). Rachel loves making movies, but in her free time, she’d rather play Ultimate Frisbee.

Rachel McAdams is viewed as a role model to some people and a great actress, too, because of her movies, The Notebook and Wedding Crashers. Her decision to be an actress has brung her many friends, memories, and fame. This Canadian actress will be remembered for a long time.

  • Abbey, C. (2006). The Journey of Rachel McAdams. Toronto: Canadian Film Magazine.
  • Casey, L. (2018). Rachel McAdams: A Career Retrospective. Los Angeles: Silver Screen Insights.
  • InfoTrac Newsstand. (2018). Rachel McAdams: A love for comedy. Retrieved from InfoTrac Newsstand database.


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The Notebook Movie Review: A Timeless Tale of Love. (2023, Jun 21). Retrieved from

"The Notebook Movie Review: A Timeless Tale of Love." , 21 Jun 2023, (2023). The Notebook Movie Review: A Timeless Tale of Love . [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 26 May. 2024]

"The Notebook Movie Review: A Timeless Tale of Love.", Jun 21, 2023. Accessed May 26, 2024.

"The Notebook Movie Review: A Timeless Tale of Love," , 21-Jun-2023. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 26-May-2024] (2023). The Notebook Movie Review: A Timeless Tale of Love . [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 26-May-2024]

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Love and Relationships in “The Notebook” Movie Essay


The influence of popular culture on the lives of billions of people cannot be overestimated or under-evaluated. Popular culture is a part of modern life. It is called ‘popular’ because the vast majority of people understand it and react according to personal preferences, would it be the positive or negative, or neutral perception of the particular piece of popular culture. Mass production of popular culture content affects the quality of the outcomes. The paper explores the motion picture The Notebook because it is one of the vivid examples of a romantic story that demonstrates how love helps people to overcome challenges in life.

Favorite Piece

The movie called The Notebook depicts the classic love triangle between the girl, Allie Hamilton, an innocent girl from the respectful family, Noah Calhoun, a young man from the countryside, and Lon Hammond, Jr., a perspective rich young lawyer. The summer months spent by Noah and Allie together sparkled a great teenage love that had been forbidden by Allie’s mother who took Allie away from Noah. He tried to contact Allie but failed as the mother did not want to allow it to happen. In despair, Noah went to World War II with his friend Fin who was killed in a battle later. Allie met Lon at the war and thought she fell in love again. However, once they accidentally met, Allie and Noah realized that their love was still burning in their hearts and reunited. The had a happy life with a house, children, and grandchildren until Allie got sick and started to forget her beloved ones. Noah kept reading her the notebook with the story of their life inside day after day to the moment when death reunited them again.

It is one of my favorite stories about love and strong will that allowed people to be together. It teaches me that nothing is over, and there is always a chance to achieve the desired goal. Everything depends on the efforts applied. I have learned from this movie that passion, loyalty, strong will, and patience can lead to the results a person desires the most. Additionally, it is a very romantic story that emphasizes the power of love. Distances, time, and will of other people cannot be stronger than true love. Even the fact that your beloved partner forgets you every morning can be overthrown by the power love.

Expectations and Social Norms

In The Notebook, the love of a rich girl and a countryside boy breaks the social norms acceptable for both classes. It has always been inappropriate to have a relationship between the poor and the rich, so Allie and Noah break social norms in the story. However, their love is bigger than any barrier of such kind. A viewer expects from the movie some miracle and it happens. The insightful factor of the story is the idea that no one should give up on something or somebody if the desire is big enough. Noah fought for his happiness even after Allie got sick and did it every day, reading the notebook to her to remind that their love was still alive.

Summing, the paper explored the motion picture The Notebook because it is one of the vivid examples of a romantic story that demonstrates how love helps people to overcome the challenges in life. This classic love story emphasizes the power of love and teaches to never give up as everything is possible. It is a great, heart-piercing story that can be recommended to watch.

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IvyPanda. (2020, August 26). Love and Relationships in "The Notebook" Movie.

"Love and Relationships in "The Notebook" Movie." IvyPanda , 26 Aug. 2020,

IvyPanda . (2020) 'Love and Relationships in "The Notebook" Movie'. 26 August.

IvyPanda . 2020. "Love and Relationships in "The Notebook" Movie." August 26, 2020.

1. IvyPanda . "Love and Relationships in "The Notebook" Movie." August 26, 2020.


IvyPanda . "Love and Relationships in "The Notebook" Movie." August 26, 2020.

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It's hard not to admire its unabashed sentimentality, but The Notebook is too clumsily manipulative to rise above its melodramatic clichés.

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the notebook movie review essay

Sparks Notes, a Critical Analysis of Nicholas Sparks Movies: The Notebook

Image of James McConnaughy

There are two types of bad media—in particular bad movies—that fascinate me, or at least fascinate me enough for me to want to examine them. The first is the strangely bad. The list of strangely bad movies has been codified, rewritten, and codified again so regularly that me bringing up their titles is probably pointless. Equally pointless at that point is my analysis. My love for The Room is strong enough that my tumblr is named after it, but it’s been picked over so many times that there’s not much left for me to say.

The second kind of bad that fascinates me is stuff that’s bad but is also monstrously successful. There’s this great interview with Werner Herzog where he says that the poet, the musician, the filmmaker, must not avert their eyes from what is popular, no matter how personally distasteful they find it, and that’s advice I’ve taken to heart. I mean, the Transformers film series may be some of the worst movies ever filmed, but they have collectively grossed 3.7 Billion dollars, so I think they merit some analysis.

But that’s not what I’m doing today, because while the Transformers series has grossed 3.7 Billion dollars, it’s done so loudly and in front of everyone. The subject of this article, the movies based on Nicolas Sparks’ books, have quietly managed to gross over 900 million dollars without anyone really noticing or feeling like picking them apart. Since no one else is doing it, I might as well. Thus begins my dissertation on white people kissing in the rain.

I’d originally planned on beginning this series of articles at the chronological beginning, with 1999’s  Message in a Bottle (stay tuned) but as long as I’m here, I might as well open with the movie that brought me to the party, because the impetus to write these articles came a couple months ago, on Valentine’s Day. I was traveling that day and managed to catch the first 10–15 minutes of The Notebook in an airport, and what I saw … kind of weirded me out.

I’ll do a broader plot rundown in a moment, but the movie opens with the main character Noah (Ryan Gosling) briefly running into his love interest, Allie (Rachel McAdams), at a fair. He immediately asks her out, but she refuses, for the very understandable reason that she doesn’t want to go out with him. He then follows her around the fair, waits until she’s on the ferris wheel, charges into her seat (between her and her actual date), and demands that she go out with him.

She refuses again, since he’s an unknown and possibly dangerous person, and the ferris wheel attendant demands he stop endangering all three of their lives by putting more people in a seat than the seat was designed to hold. He begins to climb down, but while hanging there, asks her to go out with him again. When she refuses, he begins to hold on by one hand, and more or less explicitly informs her that if she doesn’t agree, he will let go. Only when she agrees does he resume climbing down. Hm.

Ryan Gosling hanging from ferris wheel.

Just in case you thought I was kidding.

Hey, fun fact: Threatening to kill yourself to get what you want is textbook abusive behavior.

Before we wander into the actual analysis of the film, let’s discuss a subject that always winds up more controversial than I think it should be: The fact that the media you consume can alter your worldview. I don’t think this should be that much of a hard concept to wrap one’s brain around (I mean, it’s the basis for all advertising), but I think the problem is that when I say one thing, people often hear another, so let’s explore that.

The place this particular subject always comes up is violence, as in, “Can the media you consume make you violent?” and the answer is … well no, but it’s a complicated no. Media can’t alter your behavior that much if you’re not already a violent person. What it can do is change how violent you think the world around you is. If you’re not a violent person, that can make you more dismissive or accepting of the idea of violence, especially as an acceptable response in certain situations. If you’re already a violent person, it can make you think your violent tendencies are more normal, and make you less critical of your violent urges.

So let’s take that principal and apply it to the above. Seeing a lot of media that plays up abusive behavior as romantic (as the many, many, many thinkpieces on 50 Shades and Twilight will attest, there is no shortage of media that presents abusive behavior as romantic) can’t necessarily make you abusive. What it can do is make you less critical of abusive behavior you see in life.

Let’s be clear: No one is saying that Sparks, Twilight author Meyer, or anyone else shouldn’t be allowed to write whatever they want, but being aware and critical of what a piece of media is saying is the best way to keep from being unduly affected by it.

Okay, I am nearly 900 words into this article and I haven’t even begun talking about the movie properly, which really is par for the course with me. So, without further ado, I will begin with my examination of  The Notebook , with what I hope will become the recurring elements of each article, along with a brief introduction on what that segment is. Don’t worry; these long-winded introductions won’t be in every article.

This segment is pretty self-explanatory, just a quick recap of the plot of the movie.

In this case, The Notebook is the inspiring story of two teenagers who take their summer romance way too seriously. Okay, okay, that’s not fair. I’m sorry; it’s not that  bad. I should probably make it clear: I’m not necessarily against romance in film, and I’m not completely immune to sentimentality (I like When Harry Met Sally , Imagine Me & You, hell I’ve been known to defend Love Actually on occasion), but I dislike feeling like a movie is manipulating me, and this movie (and I assume most of Sparks’ oeuvre) is wall-to-wall manipulation.

Initially, the movie seems devoted to an old man (James Garner) reading a book to a woman with dementia (Gena Rowlands), but that’s just a framing device, as the book is devoted to Noah (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams), who are two teenagers living in the 1940s. At least, I think they’re both teenagers. They say Allie is 17, but I don’t think they ever specify Noah’s age. I hope he’s 17 or 18, otherwise it just got even weirder.

The notebook reading.

Anyway, after the aforementioned stalking, they begin dating, but because he’s poor and she’s not, her parents don’t approve, eventually driving them apart. Noah tries sending letters to her—one a day for a whole year, which is a cliché I’ve never been super fond of. I mean, wouldn’t he want her to have a chance to get the letter and write back before he sent the next one? I know mail used to go three times a day, but still.

Anyway, she eventually goes off to college, while he eventually winds up in World War 2, losing a tertiary character along the way. When he gets back, his dad sells his childhood home to help Noah buy a big house he wants to fix up. He finds out that while he was off in Europe, Allie started dating another soldier, who’s rich (and therefore her parents approve) and to whom she has just gotten engaged, causing Noah to go a little nuts.

Allie eventually goes to see him to see if she made a mistake. Of course they reconcile, of course they sleep together, and of course she eventually leaves her fiancé for him. Back in the framing device, it’s revealed that, of course, the old couple are Noah and Allie. They wander around in circles in the framing device for a bit until Noah has a heart attack, Allie another bout of dementia, and then they finally die together in bed. Credits.

Noah and Allie notebook end.

Alright, I saw Titanic, too. Jeez.

Sparks famously once said that no one is writing in his genre, apparently unaware that his books are basically Mad Libs of the same plot over and over. So this section will be devoted to the specific answers to those Mad Libs.

The Obstacle:

All Sparks’ movies/books feature a generic obstacle that the romance will overcome. That’s par for the course in romance stories, but that doesn’t automatically excuse Sparks’ stories. In this case, the main obstacle is the fact that Allie’s parents don’t approve of Noah for being poor—not in any, you know, obvious way, but more on that in a second—and I guess the fact that Noah heads off to World War 2.

The Tragedy:

But of course, Sparks isn’t just writing romance novels. He’s writing tragedies … which just makes them generic tearjerkers, but never mind that. In this case, the tragedy is in the framing device (which kind of undercuts it) with Old Allie suffering from alzheimer’s and subsequent dementia.

What frustrates me about both the Obstacle and the Tragedy is how completely uninterested the movie is in exploring either of them. There’s no attempt to look at social or class divides and certainly no attempt to depict them on-screen. Noah lives in a large, two-story house, easily gets the money to purchase a much larger one, and never seems to want for anything. An attempt to show the financial strain Noah is under might have made it land a little stronger—or, you know, at all.

Hell, The Notebook ‘s not even particularly interested in World War II. They say that Noah and his redshirt friend were in Patton’s 3 rd Army, which means they were in the Battle of the Bulge—the largest and bloodiest battle the US was involved in in World War II—but we barely get to see even a scene of it. We just get a couple of quick cuts that wouldn’t pass muster as a establishing shots.

But as much as the class divide and World War II are missed opportunities, the alzheimer’s subplot is an even bigger one. Alzheimer’s is such a horrifying and difficult disease to deal with that it seems impossible that the movie can’t wring any real emotion out of it, but it manages. You’d think that older Noah might be angry, sad, or even just frustrated that his wife of however many years doesn’t recognize him anymore, but he never seems any more than mildly put out.

That’s what so frustrating about it. One of the most raw and affecting love stories I’ve ever seen in film was Michael Haneke’s Amour , because could see the male lead fighting against his sadness and anger and frustration while caring for his wife, while still being in love with her. It makes the relationship feel more real and therefore affecting.

Allie and Noah in a boat.

“I think I hear Nicolas Winding Refn calling me …”

The Unhealthy Relationship:

Once again, I hope this particular section is self explanatory. In this case, I’m going to ball together all the stuff the movie depicts as romantic or even just acceptable, which really is not great, and we’ll talk about it. This is the main point of these articles, so I’m hoping this is the section that will really land with people.

The Notebook has the aforementioned stalking and suicide threatening right at the start. It’s more or less the first thing Noah does on-screen, which had the side affect of turning me so far against him that he basically had no chance of me ever liking him. The fact that he also demanded that she yell that she wanted to go out with him during his emotional blackmail certainly didn’t help.

The movie also doesn’t do a great job of depicting them as a happy couple outside of their start. The narrator openly states that Noah and Allie fight all the time, and they both comment on it later, which doesn’t seem particularly healthy. They try to brush it off by saying that they still love each other (this film is a master of Tell, Don’t Show), but it’s an odd thing to draw attention to.

Also she cheats on her fiancé? Like, I know the movie is pushing the idea that she and Noah are soulmates, and she does eventually leave him for Noah, but it’s still an incredibly s****y thing to do to the guy, who seems like a perfectly nice person.

All of this points towards the point that I made earlier, back at the beginning of the plot summary: Noah and Allie are just a couple of stupid teenagers who are taking their relationship too seriously. Of course the movie isn’t intending to portray it that way, but it’s the way it comes across to me. Neither character really matures or grows during their time apart, which I suppose explains why they’re so eager to get back to each other, because they’re both still teenagers at heart. There’s nothing wrong with a high school romance, in theory, but portraying it as this huge be-all and end-all is weird, especially when there are elements of abuse in how the relationship started.

But just analyzing one of the Sparks based movies would never be enough for me, so tune in next time, when I continue my long and probably painful journey through the entire Nicolas Sparks film oeuvre. When will next time be? Hell if I know. But until next time…

people ride bikes together in the notebook because romance

*Hums “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head.”*

James is a Connecticut-based, Alaskan-born cinephile with an obsession with The Room and a god complex. His interests include Warhammer 40k , the films of  Nicolas Cage (both good and bad), and obscure moments in history. He writes movie reviews for Moar Powah under the name Elessar  and also has a blog, where is reviewing every episode of The X-Files at I Want to Review . His twitter can be found at Elessar42 , and his tumblr can be found at FootballInTuxedos .

— The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone , hate speech, and trolling.—

Follow The Mary Sue on Twitter , Facebook , Tumblr , Pinterest , & Google+ .

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The Notebook Essay

The story opens with Duke (Old Noah) reading to Allie in a nursing home. He starts at the beginning, July 1940, at a Carnival in Seabrook, South Carolina. That’s where Noah and Allie meet for the first time…and where Noah falls instantly in love while Allie takes her sweet time warming up to him. Mutual friends Fin and Sara eventually bring them together more often until they go see a movie as a group. On the walk home is when things start heating up between Noah and Allie.

Allie is from a wealthy family and Noah is from the wrong side of the tracks. Their social differences do not stop their relationship from blossoming. Allie spends her summer with Noah and she falls madly in love with him but she has to go back home at the end of the summer because she is due to start college.

Allie’s mother does not approve of Noah and she does everything in her power to stop the relationship.

Noah writes Allie letters every day for a year but she never receives them because her mother hides them. When Allie goes off to college she meets a man named Lon who is wealthy and has plans to marry her.

Allie runs out after him and they end up getting into a huge fight. Allie and Noah lose touch but reconnect years Later whenFin, now going by his middle name Lucas returns from the war, injured. Alllie is married with children at this point, but she and Lucas still share a raw intensity for each other preventing them from ever forgetting about their long-lost love affair as teenagers.

Noah comes home and finds out that Allie is engaged to another man. Noah writes her a letter everyday for a year in an attempt to win her back. The film ends with them getting back together and getting married.

The Notebook is a 2004 American romantic drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes and based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. The film stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as a young couple who fall in love despite the opposition of their parents and peers.

The film received mixed reviews but was praised for its acting and direction. It earned $115 million worldwide against a budget of $30 million, becoming one of the highest-grossing films of 2004.

The Notebook was nominated for several awards, including five Teen Choice Awards, and won the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss. The film has been included in lists of the greatest romantic films of all time and is often cited as a favorite film by many fans.

Allie quickly fell for soldier Lon Hammond Jr. after nursing him back to health, and he soon proposed. But when Noah returned from the war, he found that his father had sold their home in order to buy and fix up the one they’d always wanted.

Noah goes to see Allie and finds that she is engaged. Noah does not give up hope and decides to write her 365 letters, one for each day of the year, in an attempt to win her back. However, Allie’s mother Anne Hamilton has always disapproved of Noah and does not want her daughter to marry him.

When Allie reads the letters she is torn between her past love with Noah and her new life with Lon. She eventually chooses Lon and they get married. They have two children together, a boy named Jamie and a girl named Anna.

The film then jumps ahead to present day where Allie is living in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Her husband visits her every day and reads to her from a notebook that contains the story of their love.

The notebook is a powerful film that tells the story of everlasting love. Nicholas Sparks does an amazing job of creating characters that are easy to relate to and care about. The film is also very visually stunning. If you are looking for a romantic film that will make you believe in true love, then The Notebook is the perfect choice.

After Allie tries on her wedding gown, she spots Noah’s picture in the newspapers next to the house he told her about. She wonders how he is doing and decides to go check up on him. So, she drives back to Seabrook where Noah lives. They have dinner together and afterwards, Noah asks her to come back tomorrow.

Allie goes back to her apartment and Noah calls her. She tells him that she is engaged to be married. Allie’s fiancé, Lon, takes her out to Seabrook and they meet Noah. He tells them that he is going to sell the house.

Noah visits Allie in New York and she tells him that her mother does not approve of him. They argue and Noah leaves. Allie’s mother tells her that she needs to choose between Noah and Lon.

Lon takes Allie out to dinner and propose marriage to her. She says yes but is clearly not sure about her decision. The next day, she sees Noah again and they spend time together at the notebook house. Allie tells Noah she is getting married and he asks her to not marry Lon.

Allie goes ahead with the wedding but has doubts. At the last minute, she decides to leave Lon at the altar and goes back to Seabrook. She finds Noah and they spend the night together talking. The next day, Allie’s mother comes to visit them.

She tells Allie that she needs to make a decision between Noah and Lon. Allie chooses Noah and they get married.

The film ends with an older Allie and Noah sitting outside together looking at the notebook. It is revealed that Allie has Alzheimer’s disease and does not remember Noah anymore. However, every day he tells her their story and she falls in love with him all over again.

The Notebook is a 2004 American romantic drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes, written by Jeremy Leven from Jan Sardi’s adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ 1996 novel of the same name. The film stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as a young couple who fall in love in the 1940s. Their story is narrated from the present day by an elderly man (played by James Garner) recounting his past to a fellow nursing home resident (played by Gena Rowlands, Cassavetes’ mother).

The Notebook received mixed reviews but was generally praised for its acting performances (particularly those of Gosling and McAdams), its screenplay, and its cinematography. The film became a sleeper hit grossing over $115 million in North America and $81 million in the rest of the world for a worldwide total of $196 million.

The film received several award nominations, winning eight Teen Choice Awards, a Satellite Award, and an MTV Movie Award. The Notebook was also nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

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The Film “The Notebook”, Movie Review Example

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Exploring Communication and Relationships in the Film “ The Notebook ”

Interpersonal communication is more than just exchanging information between two people. It includes the process of sending and receiving messages that involve creating and interpreting meaning. This can be done verbally, nonverbally, or through a combination of both. The way people communicate with others affects the relationships they have with them. In this paper, I will be discussing how interpersonal communication is portrayed in the film I chose to analyze. In addition, I will be looking at how various theories of interpersonal communication are demonstrated in the film and how they contribute to the development, maintenance, and termination of relationships. The file I chose to analyze is “The Notebook.”

Film Summary

The film “The Notebook” follows the story of two young lovers, Noah and Allie, who are separated by their families due to social conventions and must navigate a long-distance relationship (Cassavetes). Throughout the film, we see various aspects of interpersonal communication between Noah and Allie as they struggle to maintain their relationship despite the many obstacles in their way. We see how they use communication to overcome these obstacles and how it ultimately affects their relationship.

Communication Theories in the Film

Interpersonal communication plays a vital role in the development and maintenance of relationships. In “The Notebook,” we see how various forms of communication are used to start communication, maintain, and terminate communication relationships. The film provides examples of how important communication is in creating and sustaining positive connections with others. Communication is an essential part of every relationship, whether it’s communicating our thoughts and feelings, perceiving others accurately, or using nonverbal cues to express ourselves. The following are some of the concepts portrayed in the film.

Perception is another important aspect of interpersonal communication. In “The Notebook,” we see how perception can affect relationships as Noah and Allie struggle to understand each other’s perspectives. For example, when Noah tries to get together with Allie, he perceives her rejection of his advances as a lack of interest in him and begins to distance himself from her. (Alder 48) However, Allie is interested in Noah but is hesitant to pursue a relationship due to her own personal issues. This misunderstanding between Noah and Allie highlights how perception can affect interpersonal relationships. Another example of this is when Allie is on the phone with Noah and she hangs upon him. In this case, Noah perceives Allie’s actions as a lack of interest in him and their relationship. However, Allie hangs up on Noah because she feels overwhelmed and needs some time to herself. This example shows how two people can have different perceptions of the same situation and how those perceptions can affect their relationships (Alder 52). The way we perceive others affects the way we communicate with them. Noah and Allie’s perception of each other changes as their relationship progresses in the film. When they first meet, they have a negative perception of each other. Noah perceives Allie as a spoiled rich girl out of his league. Allie perceives Noah as a poor, uneducated boy who is beneath her. As they get to know each other better, their perception changes. Noah starts to see Allie as a kind-hearted, caring person. Allie starts to see Noah as a sweet, down-to-earth guy. Their change in perception leads to a change in their communication. They become more open and honest with each other as their relationship develops.

Communication Processes

One of the most important aspects of interpersonal communication is the communication process. This process includes sender, message, channel, receiver, feedback, and context (Alder 29). In the film “The Notebook,” we see various examples of this process in action. For example, when Noah is trying to woo Allie, he sends her a letter expressing his love for her (Cassavetes). The sender, in this case, is Noah, the message is his expression of love, the channel is the letter, the receiver is Allie, feedback is Allie’s reaction to the letter, and the context is their long-distance relationship. Another example of the communication process in action is when Noah and Allie are having a fight, and Allie hangs up on Noah (Cassavetes). In this case, the sender is Allie. The message is her anger and frustration. The channel is the phone call. The receiver is Noah, feedback is Noah’s response to being hung up on, and the context is their tumultuous relationship. Through these examples of the communication process, we can see how interpersonal communication is used in the film.

Models of Communication

In addition to the communication process, communication models can also help us better understand interpersonal relationships. Two of the most commonly discussed communication models are Knapp’s Model of Relationship Development and the Dialectical Model (Alder 210). In “The Notebook,” we see both of these models in action as Noah and Allie work to build their relationship despite the many obstacles that come their way. For example, we see Knapp’s Model of Relationship Development in action when Noah and Allie first meet and start to develop a relationship. We also see the Dialectical Model at play when Noah and Allie try to overcome their differences and maintain their relationship. The Dialectical Model is also evident in the scene where Allie is on the phone with Noah, and she hangs upon him. Through these examples, we can see how interpersonal communication theories can help us understand relationships in “The Notebook.”

Verbal communication

Verbal communication is another important aspect of interpersonal relationships. In “The Notebook,” we see how verbal communication can be used to initiate, maintain, and terminate communication relationships (Alder 262). For example, when Noah and Allie first meet at the carnival, they use verbal communication to initiate their relationship. We also see this in the scene where they are on the phone, and Allie hangs up on Noah. In this case, verbal communication is used to maintain their relationship by helping them to understand each other’s perspectives (Cassavetes). Finally, verbal communication is used to terminate their relationship when Allie breaks up with Noah. These examples show how important verbal communication is in interpersonal relationships.

Interpersonal communication is a key factor in building and maintaining relationships. In “The Notebook,” we see how verbal, nonverbal, and perception can be used to initiate, maintain, and terminate communication relationships. Through examples from the film, we can better understand the role of communication in relationships and its importance for creating positive connections with others. Communication is an essential part of every relationship, whether it’s communicating our thoughts and feelings, perceiving others accurately, or using nonverbal cues to express ourselves.

Works Cited

Adler, Ronald Brian, George R. Rodman, and Athena DuPré.  Essential Communication . Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2015.

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The Notebook: 7+ Thoughts I Had While Rewatching The Ryan Gosling And Rachel McAdams Movie

If you're a bird, I'm a bird.

Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling in The Notebook

The Notebook is one of the best romantic movies of all time. It’s a beautiful tale of an unbreakable love story between people of different social classes. On paper, they would never work. However, their love is powerful enough to break any barriers that stand in their way. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams star as Noah and Allie, the main protagonists of this love story.

I wouldn’t say The Notebook ranks in my top 5 favorite romantic movies of all time, but it’s definitely in the top 20. The undeniable chemistry between Gosling and McAdams makes it a must-watch for all romance movie fans. Because I haven’t seen a romantic movie that I’ve really loved in a while, I decided to revisit some of my favorite movie romances, and that included a rewatching of The Notebook. I have some thoughts.

Warning The Notebook spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution.

Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in The Notebook

Ryan Gosling And Rachel McAdams Give Some OF Their Best Performances In The Notebook 

Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams are both really good actors. I would even argue that Gosling is one of the best actors who hasn’t won an Oscar. While rewatching The Notebook , I couldn’t help but be even more convinced of this opinion. Gosling and McAdams completely convince us that they’re in love. Not only that, you see how much they put into these performances.

In the scene where Noah hears Allie’s parents calling him trash, how can your heart not break watching Noah react to it? In the scene where Allie pretends to be a bird, how can you not feel her joy? You feel all of these characters’ emotions because McAdams, Gosling, and the entire cast give really strong performances.

For two-plus hours, Gosling becomes Noah and McAdams becomes Allie. I’ve seen many Rachel McAdams movies and many Ryan Gosling movies and Allie and Noah are some of their most beloved characters because of how good they are in these roles. The Notebook is one of the best Rachel McAdams movies and one of the best Ryan Gosling movies . They’re both really outstanding in this film. 

Rachel McAdams as Allie in The Notebook

The Costumes And Makeup Departments Are The MVPs Of This Movie 

The Notebook starts with Allie and Noah as teens, then ends with them as older adults. At some point, they’re in their mid-20s. The oldest versions of Allie and Noah are played by James Garner and Gena Rowlands. The rest of the ages are played by Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. They completely convince you that they’re teens at the start of the movie. This is partly because of their acting skills, and partly because of the makeup department.


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They tone back the makeup with McAdams to give her a fresh face to portray teen Allie. Clean-shaven Ryan Gosling looks like a teen. Once he has facial hair, he becomes an adult Noah who has seen some things. As Allie ages, more makeup appears to be added, which makes her look older and more sophisticated. The makeup is really subtle but completely transforms these characters.

The 1940s fashion is really gorgeous in The Notebook. Every one of Allie’s outfits, I would love to steal. They’re just so fabulous. The costume designers also use the clothes in very interesting ways. I noticed that the outfit that Allie and Noah wear when they meet, mimics the clothing that they’re wearing as older adults, at least in terms of colors. The Notebook is one of those movies where it’s clear that multiple elements, including costumes and makeup, work in harmony to make this such a memorable film. 

Ryan Gosling as Noah in The Notebook

The Notebook Breakup Scene Is One of The Best In History

Thankfully, The Notebook isn’t one of the great breakup movies , because that would totally ruin the vibe of the film. However, the film has one of the greatest movie breakup scenes. Many adore The Notebook because of all the major declarations of love, the steamy sex scene, and the enticing chemistry between the lead characters. I love all those things as well, but I also really like the main breakup scene.

It starts with Noah having his heart broken by hearing what Allie’s parents think of him. Then it leads to him ending it. We see every emotion in that scene, from anger to desperation to confusion to fear to hopelessness. It’s brilliant. Then we see parallel elements of that scene in the part where Noah fights for them to be together, but Allie doesn’t want to break Lon’s ( James Marsden ) heart.

The Notebook breakup scene just feels so realistic and raw.

Rachael McAdams and Ryan Gosling in The Notebook

The Drama And Romance Always Sweeps Me Away 

Until rewatching The Notebook , I didn’t realize how much the film engulfs you. The two-plus hours pass fast because I’m so drawn into this story and this world. I know what is going to happen, but I can’t look away. It’s one of those rare films that really takes hold of you from start to finish. You feel all their emotions, you suspend reality and reason, and you let your hopeless romantic side thrive.

Like Allie and Noah’s love story, The Notebook can be all-consuming. 

James Marsden and Rachel McAdams in The Notebook

I Can’t Help But Feel Bad For Lon

Lon joins the list of movie boyfriends involved in a love triangle who do nothing wrong but just aren’t the right guy. Sometimes the other guy in these types of movies sucks. Lon is not one of those guys. Allie not only cheats on him, but she does it while completely forgetting about him for days. According to my calculation, Allie and Noah only dated for a few months (before getting married and starting their life together), but she dated Lon for at least three years before completely dumping him.

Even if you love Allie and Noah together, you kind of have to think that they were quite terrible for how they treated their exes. At least poor Martha (Jamie Brown) could see their romance as a window of what could be for her. We don’t even completely get Lon’s reaction to the breakup.

For all we know, the Allie breakup could have been Lon’s villain origin story. I know that viewers aren’t supposed to hate Allie and Noah, because we’re supposed to view this all as them being so in love that they would always only want each other. However, love shouldn’t be an excuse to just cheat and neglect your fiancé.

James Garner and Gena Rowlands in The Notebook

Is The Notebook Ending Tragic Or Happy? 

When I originally saw The Notebook , I considered it a happy ending. They were able to live their lives together and even leave the world together. However, watching it again, I couldn’t help but wonder if this isn’t exactly a happy ending. Yes, they got to die together, but it’s pretty terrible that they reached the stage in their life where their bodies began to betray them. That’s part of life and aging, but it’s also a pretty downer way to end a love story. Realistic? Probably? Downer? Absolutely.

The sadness of The Notebook ending makes it easy to see why some versions don’t show it. It’s definitely a happy ending that they got to live a full life together and were able to leave the world together. The tragedy comes with the whole aging process and how it can disrupt even a beautiful love story, even if only temporarily. 

Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling in The Notebook

Other Thoughts 

The Notebook rewatch sparked so many thoughts, some silly, some profound, and more just ramblings. Here are my other thoughts.

  • I think I just really love period piece love stories. Something about them makes everything more tragic and heightened. 
  • The Notebook really has a thing for birds. I’m assuming they’re a metaphor for Allie feeling caged by parents, and society, but finally being able to fly free at the end. 
  • I love writing letters, but even I find the idea of 365 letters kind of tedious. 
  • I had completely erased the war part of The Notebook from my memory.  It’s so quick that it’s barely in there. 
  • I would love a prequel about Allie’s mom and her ex. Basically, Noah and Allie, but one that doesn’t work out. 
  • The Notebook has so many great quotes. 
  • Rachel McAdams’ lungs must have hurt with all the random screaming moments in the movie. 

You can find The Notebook and plenty of other great romance movies on HBO Max . 

Stream The Notebook on HBO Max . 

Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.

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The Notebook

The Notebook

  • An elderly man reads to a woman with dementia the story of two young lovers whose romance is threatened by the difference in their respective social classes.
  • With almost religious devotion, Duke, a kind octogenarian inmate of a peaceful nursing home, reads daily a captivating story from the worn-out pages of his leather-bound notebook to a fellow female patient. To keep her company, Duke recounts the fascinating love affair between impecunious but poetic country boy Noah and Allie, an affluent city girl. And little by little, Duke unfolds a Southern, lumber-scented summer romance beneath the tall trees of late 1930s North Carolina. Indeed, it seems as if the silent manuscript possesses the unfathomable power to penetrate the opaque clouds that enclose the silver-haired dame; slowly but surely, the enchanted lady becomes immersed in the strangely alluring fairy tale of the young ardent lovers' highs and lows. But nobody knows what tomorrow holds. Are all summer loves doomed to fail? — Nick Riganas
  • The movie focuses on an old man reading a story to an old woman in a nursing home. The story he reads follows two young lovers named Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun, who meet one evening at a carnival. But they are separated by Allie's parents who disapprove of Noah's unwealthy family, and move Allie away. After waiting for Noah to write her for several years, Allie meets and gets engaged to a handsome young soldier named Lon. Allie, then, with her love for Noah still alive, stops by Noah's 200-year-old home that he restored for her, "to see if he's okay." It is evident that they still have feelings for each other, and Allie has to choose between her fiancé and her first love. — Jessica Cymerman
  • In a modern-day nursing home, an elderly man named Duke ( James Garner ) begins to read a love story from his notebook to a female fellow patient ( Gena Rowlands ). The story begins in 1940. At a carnival in Seabrook Island, South Carolina, local country boy Noah Calhoun ( Ryan Gosling ) sees seventeen-year-old heiress Allie Hamilton ( Rachel McAdams ) for the first time and is immediately smitten. She continuously refuses his persistent advances until their well-meaning friends lure them together; they then get to know each other on a midnight walk through empty Seabrook. Noah and Allie spend an idyllic summer together. One night, a week before Allie is to leave town, she and Noah go up to an abandoned house called The Windsor Plantation. Noah tells her that he hopes to buy the house, and Allie makes him promise that the house will be white, with blue shutters, a walk-around porch, and a room that overlooks the creek so she can paint. They intend to make love for the first time, but are interrupted by Noah's friend Fin ( Kevin Connolly ) with the news that Allie's parents have the police out looking for her. When Allie returns home, her disapproving parents ban her from seeing Noah again. Allie fights with Noah outside and the two decide to break up. Allie immediately regrets the decision but Noah drives away. The next morning, Allie's mother reveals that they are going home that morning. Allie frantically tries to find Noah, but is forced to leave without saying good-bye. The Hamiltons then send Allie to New York, where she begins attending Sarah Lawrence College. Noah, devastated by his separation from Allie, writes her one letter a day for a year, only to get no reply as Allie's mother keeps the letters from her. Noah and Allie have no choice but to move on with their lives. Allie continues to attend school, while Noah and Fin enlist to fight in World War II. Fin is killed in battle. Allie becomes a nurse for wounded soldiers. There, she meets the wealthy Lon Hammond, Jr. ( James Marsden ), a well-connected young lawyer who is handsome, sophisticated, charming and comes from old Southern money. The two eventually become engaged, to the joy of Allie's parents, although Allie sees Noah's face when Lon asks her to marry him. When Noah returns home, he discovers his father has sold their home so that Noah can go ahead and buy The Windsor Plantation. While visiting Charleston to file some paper work, Noah witnesses Allie and Lon kissing at a restaurant, causing Noah to go a little crazy, convincing himself that if he fixes up the house, Allie will come back to him. While trying on her wedding dress in the 1940s, Allie is startled to read about Noah completing the house in the style section of a Raleigh newspaper and faints. She visits Noah in Seabrook and he invites her to dinner, during which Allie tells Noah about her engagement. Noah questions whether Allie's future husband is a good man and she reassures Noah that he is. Later in the evening, Noah invites Allie to come back tomorrow. In the present, it is made clear that the elderly woman is Allie suffering from dementia, which has stolen her memories and Duke is her husband. Allie does not recognize their grown children and grandchildren, who beg Duke to come home with them. He insists on staying with Allie. The next morning, Allie and Noah go rowing on a nearby lake and begin to reminisce about their summer together. As a rain storm starts Noah rows to shore, where Allie demands to know why Noah never wrote to her. After the revelation that Noah had indeed written to Allie, they share a passionate kiss, before making love into the night. The next day, Allies mother appears on Noah's doorstep, telling Allie that Lon has followed her to Seabrook after Allie's father told him about Noah. Her mother takes Allie out for a drive to show her that there had been a time in her life when she could relate to Allie's present situation. On returning to Noah's, she hands her daughter the bundle of 365 letters that Noah had written to her. When alone, Noah asks Allie what she is going to do; Allie is confused and confesses that she doesn't know. Noah asks her to just stay with him, admitting it is going to be really hard, but he is willing to go through anything because he wants to be with her. Confused as ever, Allie drives off. Allie drives to the hotel and confesses to Lon, who is angry but admits that he still loves her. He tells her that he does not want to convince his fiancée that she should be with him, but Allie tells him he does not have to, because she already knows she should be with him. The film goes back to the elderly couple, and Duke asks Allie whom she chose. She soon realizes the answer herself; young Allie appears at Noah's doorstep, having left Lon at the hotel and chosen Noah. They embrace in reunion. Elderly Allie suddenly remembers her past before she and Noah/Duke joyfully spend a brief intimate moment together; after originally finding out about her illness, she had herself written their story in the notebook with the instructions for Noah to "Read this to me, and I'll come back to you." But soon Allie relapses, losing her memories of Noah yet again. She panics, and has to be sedated by the attending physician. This proves to be too difficult for Noah to watch and he breaks down. The next morning, Noah is found unconscious in bed and he is rushed to the hospital; he later returns to the nursing home's intensive care ward. He goes to Allie's room later that night, and Allie remembers again. The next morning, a nurse finds them in bed together, having both died peacefully holding each other's hands. The last scene shows a flock of birds flying away.

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Themes and Analysis

The notebook, by nicholas sparks.

At the core of 'The Notebook' is the relationship between the heart and the mind, feelings, and memories. The themes, symbols and key moments in the novel are discussed here.

Israel Njoku

Article written by Israel Njoku

Degree in M.C.M with focus on Literature from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

‘ The Notebook ‘ by Nicholas Sparks captures themes and symbols with philosophical and psychological implications, particularly on the issue of the relationship between feelings and memories. It begs the question, how much do our memories shape our feelings? The novel is small in volume but mighty in its ability to provoke thoughts and introspection.

Like books such as ‘ Romeo and Juliet ‘ by William Shakespeare and ‘ Pride and Prejudice ‘ by Jane Austen , the familiar theme of love is found in ‘ The Notebook ‘ by Nicholas Sparks. Also, there are other less popular but important themes, such as aging, memory, beauty in nature, and class discrimination in this novel. Let’s take a close look at some of these themes here.

Enduring Love

In ‘ The Notebook ,’ love is remarked as a force capable of overcoming all odds, be it social class, science, time, age, or physical ailment. Love is a powerful value capable of bringing life and restoring purpose to life regardless of whatever challenges there may be. Noah and Allie fall in love as teenagers, but their nascent love faces many challenges. The first challenge is their separation when Allie moves with her family to a new city. The next challenge is interference from Allie’s parents, then Allie’s betrothal to another man. But Allie and Noah overcome all these challenges to their union and marry each other.

The challenges continue even in their blissful marriage. The death of one of their children and the loss of Allie’s mind are the greatest of these challenges. But it does not deter Noah from nurturing their love, and their union waxes stronger.

Aging and Mortality

A dominant setting in the novel is a nursing home for old people, where we see several inmates, including the protagonists passing through several levels of physical debilitation as a result of their old age. The novel remarks on the inevitable deterioration of the mortal human body with time and that this deterioration must eventually lead to death.

From the perspective of old age, the narrator rues the folly of wasting one’s limited time in life chasing things that will not matter in the long run at the expense of eternal values like love.

‘ The Notebook ‘ by Nicholas Sparks also highlights some of the differences between the mind, body, and behavior of young people and old people.

Memories and Feelings

One of the other ascendant themes of ‘ The Notebook ‘ is the existential argument that feelings are much beyond what the mind can comprehend and that memory is only a peripheral value when juxtaposed with feelings.

This is best explained in the complexities of Allie’s interactions with Noah as she suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease wiped Allie’s mind clean of all her memories, including the memory of her soul mate and lifelong lover, Noah. Yet, she feels a connection with him and feels safe in his company despite her inability to recognize him. Sometimes, the power of Allie’s feelings for Noah defies her disease, and she is able to recall memories of him.

Nicholas Sparks suggests in ‘ The Notebook ‘ that the workings of the human mind are not only controlled by experience and memories but also by feelings.

The Beauty of Nature

‘ The Notebook ‘ celebrates and pays tribute to nature in several ways. From Noah’s appreciation of and description of elements of nature to Allie’s art and paintings, we see a profound picture of the beauty of nature in flowers, the sky, swans, and trees, among others.

The characters Noah and Allie enjoy nature so much that the view of flowers and birds becomes both romantic and therapeutic to both of them.

Class Discrimination

‘ The Notebook ‘ by Nicholas Sparks frowns at the discrimination against people based on social class. In the novel, Allie’s parents try to put an obstacle between Allie and Noah because of their snobbish belief that Noah being from a poor family, is not good enough for their socialite daughter.

Class discrimination made Allie’s parents blind to Noah’s admirable qualities of kindness, hard work, and integrity. This made them stand in the way of their daughter’s happiness.

Analysis of Key Moments

  • Noah is an eighty-year-old in a nursing home and goes to visit his wife, Allie, but Allie does not recognize him because she suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Noah begins to read to Allie from a notebook that narrates a story from another timeline.
  • Noah is a lonely young man back from the war and spending his fortune and energy refurbishing an old, abandoned house in New Bern, North Carolina.
  • Young Allie is three weeks away from getting married to Lon Hammond, but she decides to visit Noah in New Bern before getting married.
  • Allie and Noah reconnect and rekindle their love after a few dates together.
  • Lon grows suspicious of Allie after she misses numerous calls he placed at the hotel where she is meant to be. He decides to go to New Bern and find out what is going on with her.
  • Allie’s mother, Anne Nelson, rushes to New Bern to warn Allie that Lon is coming in search of her. She then gives Allie letters from Noah, which she had hitherto hidden from Allie.
  • Allie goes to meet Lon and breaks up with him.
  • Noah and Allie get married and have children, but with time Allie begins to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Noah and Allie both move to a nursing home, and Noah makes it a routine to go and read their love story to Allie every day.

Style, Tone, and Figurative Language

The style of the narration is a combination of the first-person narrative and the third-person narrative. The author also makes use of framing devices in the novel. A framing device is a narrative technique where a story is told amidst another story. Often, the beginning and ending chapters serve as frames for the story told in the chapters in between. As we have in ‘ The Notebook ,’ chapter one and chapter eight frame the story told in chapters two to seven.

The tone of the narrator is poetic and wistful, and there are figurative devices deployed in the narration, notably similes and metaphors.

Analysis of Symbols

Symbols are items that signify something abstract beyond what they are at surface value. Some of the symbols in ‘ The Notebook ‘ are:

Noah’s House

Beyond its practical utility as a shelter, Noah’s house in New Bern is an emblem of his dreams and his belief that dreams eventually come true through hard work, patience, and diligence.

The house is also a symbol of the dead things that can be brought to life by the power of love and attention.

Allie’s Painting

Allie’s painting is a symbol of her desires and ideals. At some point in her life, she lost sight of both values in her life, but the recovery of her art and talent in painting was symbolic of her acceptance of her true self.

The Storm and the Hearth

The Storm in ‘The Notebook ‘ symbolizes the challenges posed to Noah and Allie’s union. On the other hand, the hearth symbolizes a haven that Noah and Allie find with each other that protects them from the cold and dangers of the storm.

The notebook is a symbol of the power of words and stories in preserving memories, feelings, and enriching experiences. Allie, whose memory was failing her because of her disease, could only revive the passions of her past by listening to her story from the notebook.

What mental illness does Allie have in ‘ The Notebook ?’

Allie is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in ‘ The Notebook .’ The disease makes her lose memories of her identity, family, and her past.

What is the age difference between Noah and Allie in ‘ The Notebook ?’

The age difference between Noah and Allie is two years. Noah is two years older than Allie. They first began their relationship when Allie was fifteen years old and Noah seventeen.

Why is ‘ The Notebook ‘ regarded as unrealistic?

‘The Notebook’ by Nicholas Sparks is regarded as unrealistic by many because of the character Noah. Noah is too idealistic and without flaws that make him relatable as a character.

Who is the antagonist of ‘ The Notebook ‘ by Nicholas Sparks?

The antagonist of ‘ The Notebook’ is Allie’s mother, Anne Nelson. She poses as the major obstacle against the protagonists’ love and happiness.

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Israel Njoku

About Israel Njoku

Israel loves to delve into rigorous analysis of themes with broader implications. As a passionate book lover and reviewer, Israel aims to contribute meaningful insights into broader discussions.


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Critic’s Notebook

An Extraordinary Documentary About the Most Precious of Lives

Margreth Olin’s “Songs of Earth” works almost like a poem as she records her parents and the Norwegian landscape.

A tiny figure can barely be seen amid the fjords of Norway.

By Alissa Wilkinson

It’s rare to see a film that feels not just poetic in nature, but like actual poetry. The rhythm and cadence, the imagery and metaphor, even the sense of movement and time that often accompany a great poem don’t translate easily to the screen. Filmmakers need a light touch and trust in the viewer to lean in and let their work wash over them, rather than trying to decode everything.

Margreth Olin somehow pulled it off — and in a documentary, no less. Her “Songs of Earth” (in theaters) is tough to categorize as anything other than poetry, though there are elements of nature photography and personal narrative woven throughout.

At the center of “Songs of Earth” are the relationship between Olin’s parents, Jorgen and Magnhild Mykloen, as they age, and the spectacular landscapes of her native Norway. The film moves through a cycle of seasons, during which the terrain changes from green to brown to white and back again. At the center of that terrain is Olin’s 84-year-old father, who returns repeatedly to the Oldedalen valley, in the western part of the country.

Olin’s father tells her stories of his life and their ancestors. She learns about tragedies, about surgery he underwent when he was young, about the way the world has shaped him and his life. Both of her parents — who have been married for 55 years — talk about their relationship and what the future may hold for them, with grief inevitably on the horizon.

The gentle stories are marked by periods of silence that are never silent: The earth produces its own noises of ripples and blusters and crackling, melting ice, sometimes harmonizing with a gorgeous score by Rebekka Karijord. It’s really quite an experience to watch, and what might tie it all together is Olin’s decision to film her father’s skin at very close range. There’s a point being made there: His wrinkles and crevasses echo the landscape, which has also been shaped by time and forces of nature. In the span of the earth’s life, an individual human’s time is minuscule, yet precious — we are the planet in microcosm.

It’s an altogether extraordinary film, one I’ve thought about often since I first saw it, and I’m delighted that it’s playing in theaters — the immersive nature of the sounds, music and landscapes are worth experiencing with the full concentration a cinema affords. But even if you can’t see it that way, it’s worth watching whenever it’s available digitally. Just make sure you close the door, dim the lights and give yourself the gift of being immersed in it fully.

Bonus Review: ‘Queen of the Deuce’

“ Queen of the Deuce ” (in theaters and available to rent or buy on most major platforms ) is a curiously flat recounting of the life and titillating times of the adult-theater entrepreneur Chelly Wilson, one of the most vividly eccentric characters in the history of New York City.

A Greek Jew who snagged one of the last boats to New York in 1939, a whisker ahead of the Nazi occupation, Wilson wasted no time transforming her hot-dog stand into a thriving pornography empire. From the late 1960s to the ’80s, she played a pivotal role as the owner of multiple theaters, an importer of pornographic films and, eventually, a founder of her own production company.

Ensconced in her apartment above the all-male Adonis Theater, Wilson, who died in 1994, held court among entertainers, Mafia dons, a roster of possible female lovers and shopping bags stuffed with cash. (Her Mob connections are as politely glossed over as her intriguing private life.) Cozy interviews with her children and grandchildren reveal a woman who rarely spoke of her past, including an arranged marriage to a man who repulsed her.

Tastefully directed by Valerie Kontakos, “Queen of the Deuce” is the story of a shape-shifter: a twice-married gay woman, a Sephardic Jew who celebrated Christmas. The style is stilted, the look rudimentary, with Abhilasha Dewan’s cheeky animation supplying an occasional visual lift. — JEANNETTE CATSOULIS

Alissa Wilkinson is a Times movie critic. She’s been writing about movies since 2005. More about Alissa Wilkinson


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    The Notebook is one of the best romantic movies of all time. It's a beautiful tale of an unbreakable love story between people of different social classes. On paper, they would never work ...

  19. Revisiting 'The Notebook'

    In this video, we take a look back on the early 2000s classic The Notebook and its legacy as an iconic romance. And I accidentally make a case for Team Lon.S...

  20. The Notebook (2004)

    Synopsis. In a modern-day nursing home, an elderly man named Duke ( James Garner) begins to read a love story from his notebook to a female fellow patient ( Gena Rowlands ). The story begins in 1940. At a carnival in Seabrook Island, South Carolina, local country boy Noah Calhoun ( Ryan Gosling) sees seventeen-year-old heiress Allie Hamilton ...

  21. The Notebook Themes and Analysis

    Themes. Like books such as ' Romeo and Juliet ' by William Shakespeare and ' Pride and Prejudice ' by Jane Austen, the familiar theme of love is found in ' The Notebook ' by Nicholas Sparks. Also, there are other less popular but important themes, such as aging, memory, beauty in nature, and class discrimination in this novel.

  22. An Extraordinary Documentary About the Most Precious of Lives

    At the center of that terrain is Olin's 84-year-old father, who returns repeatedly to the Oldedalen valley, in the western part of the country. Olin's father tells her stories of his life and ...