Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ripping The Notebook to Shreds

Nicholas Sparks is a popular romance author among women whose books present wonderful love stories interwoven with great sadness that causes a tremendous amount of crying and usually ends happily ... or so I'm told by the Internet. A lot of people (myself included) believe all of his novels (and their movie adaptations) follow the exact same story. This graphic from Cracked does an excellent job of showing this point (read the entire article here).
See what I mean?
Last weekend I was forced to watch The Notebook by some friends of mine since I had never seen it before and girls are obsessed with it. This was my first time seeing the movie, so I made sure to pay attention as best I could ... and then fell asleep about 20 minutes in.
I woke up and fell asleep sporadically throughout the two hour love story and was intelligent enough to pick up the story (which isn't something to brag about). Out of the kindness of my heart I am warning any readers that there are spoilers ahead, but really this movie has been out for almost a decade, I shouldn't be spoiling anything for anyone who actually cares.
An old man (James Garner) reads a story to an Alzheimer's patient (Gena Rowlands) about Noah (Ryan Gossling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams) in the 1940s. When Noah first sees Allie at a carnival of some kind he immediately asks her out on a date, even though she is currently on a date with another young man. She declines. So, Noah does the most romantic thing he can think of: stalk her the entire night and threaten to kill himself if she doesn't agree.
Not romantic. Creepy.
Allie agrees and the two start dating and become a couple. Noah takes her to an old house (again not romantic, but creepy) and they get to know each other in a Biblical sense. Allie's rich parents find out and don't approve of Noah. Her family moves away so the two can never be together. So, Noah decides to write letters to her everyday for a whole year (that's 365 letters for those of you who can't do math). After a year of not getting any response from her, Noah finally takes a hint and moves on.
Noah gets sent off to war, Allie goes to college, and they both live their own lives. Allie even falls in love with a new man (played by James "Cyclops" Marsden), a rich lawyer who pursues her in a much more normal way than Noah did. He proposes, she says yes, and everyone is happy.
Except Noah, who went to find Allie and saw her eating dinner in a restaurant with her soon to be husband. Noah gets depressed and buys the old house in which he and Allie had sex all those years ago (not romantic, creepy) and decides to fix it up. This transforms him from a whiny kid into a whiny man with a beard.
He kind of looks homeless.
The house goes up for sale and many people offer Noah large sums of money to buy it off him, and every time he turns them down. For some reason someone thought this was significant enough news to write an article about and put it in the local paper. Allie sees the article, faints, and then decides it a good idea to go visit him.
Her visit turns into a rekindling of their relationship from when they were younger. Girls may think this is really cute because they are finally back together. It's not. It's terrible. Noah was dating some random girl at the time and Allie was perfectly happy and engaged.
Allie and Noah get in a huge fight and she leaves. Upon returning to her fiancé she fesses up to cheating on him and apologizes. And he is a nice enough guy to forgive her and tell her how much he loves her. So what does she do? She decides she loves Noah and goes running back to him.
Now that the story of Ryan Gossling and Rachel McAdams is over, it is clear that the Alzheimer's patient is an elderly Allie and the man reading the story is an elderly Noah. He is so completely dedicated to her that he reads her the story of their lives hoping that she remembers. She does remember things and the two die in their sleep together holding hands.
This part is actually sad.
Despite my criticism of the plot and certain characters' motives, The Notebook is a well made movie. The casting is great, all of the actors do an incredible job in their roles. There is kind of a resemblance between Gossling and Garner and McAdams and Rowlands making their roles as the same people just decades apart a little more believable. And from what I have heard it is a decent adaptation of the novel. Plus, it made Nicholas Sparks a lot of money.
Did I like The Notebook? Not really. I felt it dragged on so much longer than it should have and I didn't like Ryan Gossling's character at all. He wasn't romantic, he was creepy. However, I do have a heart and the end with old Noah and old Allie honestly was really saddening. Noah seems to have gotten better at being romantic as he got older. I can see why girls are so obsessed with this movie even though it makes them cry every time they watch it. Old Noah loved old Allie so much that he gave up on pretty much everything else in his life to keep her comfortable and to get her to remember their lives together. It's sweet, touching, and a fine example of how a man should care for his wife.
Ladies, go watch The Notebook if you haven't seen it already. Chances are that you will love it. Guys, don't watch this movie by yourself ... that's weird. It's definitely a movie you should only watch if a girl makes you, but it is okay to enjoy it a little bit.

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