First Time Watching: The Notebook

On Saturday night, I watched The Notebook for the first time. I knew it was a romantic film, so I expected some sort of love story to play out. I also knew it was a movie that made people cry.

For some reason, I think I’m starting to enjoy watching movies that are known to be a tear-jerker, just to see how I respond. Hey, we’re in a pandemic. I have to keep myself entertained.

So, I went into this movie thinking, I am ready to cry. Bring it on.

Side note: I think society needs to have a conversation on the whole “real men cry” thing. How about, anyone can cry at any time, over anything? Thanks for coming to my Italics Talk.

Anyway, I didn’t cry. I didn’t cry during the Titanic, either. I’m starting to think I’m immune to sad movies.

Brief Synopsis (in my own words)

The Notebook is about a boy (Noah) and girl (Allie) who fall into a summer romance, but things get complicated when Allie’s parents find out that Noah is just a poor boy – though his story seldom told – and forbid her from seeing him. Allie comes from a fancy schmancy family, that has large dinners, spiffy threads, and probably two showers a day, just because they can.

Allie and her family go back home – because they can afford multiple residences – before Allie and Noah can say goodbye in person. Just before this, they had a little spat where their relationship was “over”, but that was just their way of saying, “I luv u”, pre-cellphone age.

Noah writes to her, every day, for a year. Allie’s mother intercepts the letters and Allie never gets any of them, leaving her to believe that Noah doesn’t care about her anymore.

Seven years go by and Allie is engaged to a young lawyer named, Lon, who she first met in a hospital when he had a full-body cast.

In the mean time, Noah has been fixing up a house that he and Allie snuck into one night, when they were teenagers, before her parents sent out a search party for her.

He seamlessly combines the, “Let go and let God” mantra with the, “If you build it, they will come” approach, in hopes of bringing Allie back into his life because social media isn’t a thing and he can’t just send her a message saying, “Hey, remember me lol”.

But wait! He unknowingly pulls the “Make your ex jealous” move and takes a picture in front of the house, which ends up on the front of the newspaper.

Allie sees it because everyone read the newspaper back then. She drives up to his house and, by this point, Noah looks like he’s been on Survivor for the last 36 days and just got blindsided at the last Tribal Council.

He had a shabby beard and long hair. That’s what I meant, okay. Just go with it. This is my synopsis.

Even though Allie is engaged, she spends the night with Noah, setting up the most dramatic rose ceremony in Notebook history.

A few things lead to the other and Allie eventually decides to ditch her fiancΓ© and move in with her old summer fling, who has painted the shutters blue, and set up an art room with windows, just like she always wanted.

It’s borderline psychopathic very sweet.

Oh yeah, the whole story is told from the perspective of Elderly Noah, who is in a nursing home telling the story to Elderly Allie, who now has dementia. They have three children and a couple of grandchildren, but Allie doesn’t remember they are her family.

For a brief moment, she does, though. She recognizes that the story Noah told from his notebook was about them.

They both die in their sleep, while holding hands.

It’s a happy type of sad, I think.

And that’s my synopsis.

I’ll now focus on more specific elements of the movie.

Elderly Noah & Allie

The movie starts and who do I see? Well if it isn’t the grandfather from 8 Simple Rules. Yes, you can file that one under the, “Shows you didn’t think Paul knew about” folder.

I wasn’t expecting to see him, but it was a nice surprise.

As soon as the movie started in a nursing home, with a man named Duke reading a story to a woman who was exhibiting signs of dementia, I immediately pieced the whole movie together in my head.

Much later on in the film, they revealed that Duke was actually Noah and this woman was Allie but, somehow, I knew that within the first five minutes.

Am I smarter than the average bear, or did other people come to the same conclusion the first time they watched? I don’t know. The “reveal” later on felt like it was pretty important, but because I had already figured it out, it didn’t hit me the way it probably should have.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t cry. I don’t know.

Honestly, if this movie didn’t bounce back and forth between the present and past, and just told the story from the past, I would’ve been okay with it. Though, I realize the purpose of showing two timelines was to display that even until the end, they always came back to each other, even if it was only for a few minutes.

So, I guess that’s cute.

Noah Was Reckless

After Allie initially turns Noah down, he climbs onto a ferris wheel and throws himself into the same seat that Allie and another guy are seated in.

On ground level, Johnny Regulations stops the ferris wheel because “you can’t have more than two people in a seat” for “safety purposes”. Yes, so let’s stop the ferris wheel and just have one of them jump out as if they’re Shane McMahon jumping off the Titantron?

It didn’t make sense. Why not keep the ferris wheel moving and stop it when they get back to the ground?

Noah jumped onto one of the beams and threatened to let go if Allie didn’t go on a date with him.

Emotional manipulation, much?

Eventually, she gave in, because a dead body at the carnival is not fun.

And then they went to lay in the middle of an intersection because Noah has nothing to lose – he’s poor, remember. He likes danger.

He said he likes to watch the lights turn from green, to red, to yellow. I had to rewind and hear that twice. In my world, the lights go from green, to yellow, to red. In Noah’s world, it goes to yellow after red. Why?

“We want you to stop and then we want you to slow down.” NO.

I’m almost tempted to look up the order in which lights changed colours, eighty years ago, but I think I’m going to let it go and move on.

Google is right there waiting…NO PAUL, HAVE SOME STRENGTH.

All right, moving on.

A Letter A Day, Allie’s Mother Took Away

After Allie and her family moved back home at the end of the summer, without saying bye to Noah in person, Noah sent her one letter every day for a year. Allie’s mom made sure Allie never got any of them.

She made her daughter think that Noah didn’t care about her anymore.

From a viewer’s perspective, I understand the whole romantic act of sending a letter every day, juxtaposed with the “How dare you!” disdain directed toward Mama The Mail Snatcher.

However, at some point, you have to look at Allie and ask yourself (and maybe scream out loud), DID SHE NOT THINK THAT IF NOAH WAS SENDING HER MAIL THAT HER PARENTS WOULD HIDE IT FROM HER?

Did she forget that her parents forbid her from seeing him, just because he was poor? How could she trust them to pass on any mail from Noah?

All I wanted her to do was check the mailbox, once. Just once!

OR, here’s an idea, SHE could’ve sent Noah a letter. I’m not even saying it had to be a nice letter.

She could’ve sent it to him eleven months later, when she probably realized nothing was coming, and been like: “You phony little jabroni pony, my parents were right about you! We have the summer of a lifetime and you don’t even have the audacity to send me a letter to see how I am? The gall! It’s fine. Because I’m fine! Never been better wearing my expensive sweater. We are never ever getting back together.

And then Noah would’ve received the letter and thought, “Golly gee, Wally, something is amiss. I better go there in person and explain myself!”

AND THEN THEY WOULDN’T HAVE HAD TO WAIT SEVEN YEARS TO BE REUNITED.

So much ugh.

Anyway, what we’ve learned here today is that if you need someone to write a light-hearted, yet scathing letter to somebody you used to know, I’m your guy.

Lon The Lawyer

When Lon found out that Allie was back hanging out and spending the night with her former love interest, he didn’t really freak out. He was kind of really understanding.

Any other movie, Lon would’ve climbed in the window and forcefully pulled Allie out from under the blankets. Then, Noah would turn on a light and pretend to be all groggy, which is when we see that Lon set off the sprinklers and is all wet and scratched up from climbing a tree right next to the window.

Anyway, he was very calm and didn’t really put up much of a fight. He let Allie do what she wanted to do.

It was weird, but refreshing from a plot point-of-view.

How would you deal with that situation? Your fiancΓ© runs off to be with someone they haven’t seen in seven years and makes the decision to leave you within 48 hours. Answer below.

“If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.”

I had heard this line before, but didn’t know it was from this movie.

Remember, I am two weeks removed from watching Titanic for the first time, so the line, “If you jump, I jump” is still fresh in my memory.

So now, I’m starting to think there’s some secret formula for creating a romantic phrase. It’s very simple.

If you _____, I _____.

Let’s try it.

If you go, I go.

If you’re a duck, I’m a duck.

If you climb a tree, I climb a tree.

If you smile back, I must be eating goldfish crackers.

If you fall in a puddle, I laugh.

If you’re appalled, I’m a Paul.

Seems to work! Try it out.

Other Thoughts

It took Allie’s mother seven years to tell Allie that she also fell for a poor boy when she was younger and still thinks about him? Too little, too late, Mama Mayhem. You held on to those letters and only now had this, “Come to Jesus” moment? You don’t get any redemption story sympathies from me.

But honestly, it was nice to see her finally let Allie decide who she wanted to be with for the rest of her life.

I couldn’t figure out why the movie was called The Notebook until the next morning. I thought, those letters aren’t really a notebook. Then it hit me – Elderly Noah is reading the story from a notebook. OF COURSE.

When Allie and her family were going home, she told Fin to pass on the message that she was gone. Fin made it sound like Noah didn’t want to hear from her. What a terrible wingman.

You mean to tell me that over the course of a year, Allie never happened to be outside when the mailman came around? I’ll never let this go.

I feel like the movie was meant to be sad, but it never fully got there for me. I think the sadder route would’ve been if they had never gotten back together and didn’t realize until they were older what the other really felt.

To me, the saddest part was they went seven years without each other BECAUSE THE MOTHER HID THE LETTERS. Heck, if the movie wanted to go full “drowning in tears” mode, they would’ve had Allie discover the letters ten years later, only to find out that Noah had already passed away. Then Allie goes back to refurbish his dream house and gives it away for free to a young couple she sees on a ferris wheel.

Almost like a, “Here, you live out the life I was meant to have with Noah” gesture.

Boom. Instant Tears. Maybe. Yes, I realize that would’ve been a 45-minute movie. Who’s complaining?

If you tilt your head, Noah can come across as a creepy stalker who obsesses over a girl so much, that he fixes up a house in hopes that she’ll find her way back to him. And then when she does, he exits the house looking like he hasn’t seen sunlight in years.

And if you tilt your head the other way, maybe Allie comes across as perpetually indecisive and confusing, while living a life that she convinced herself she wants, but doesn’t.

Basically, what I’m saying is, don’t watch this movie while laying on your side.

Overall

I liked The Notebook. It was very easy to follow and I’m impressed with how much I’ve remembered, without having to lean on Wikipedia.

The premise of the movie felt like something you’d think of before falling asleep. Like, “hmm, I wonder if that person who I really connected with a long time ago still remembers me and if we’ll meet up again one day by accident.” And then you create a scenario that’ll never happen, before falling asleep.

Just me? Okay then.

Anyway, I enjoyed it. You should watch it if you’re interested. If not – don’t.

That’s all I’ve got to say. Thanks for reading!

If you’re appalled, I’m a Paul.

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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17 Responses to First Time Watching: The Notebook

  1. Since we have already talked about this, all I have to say is:

    OH MY GOODNESS YOU KNOW 8 SIMPLE RULES?!? I LOVED THAT SHOW AND NO ONE ELSE KNOWS IT!!!! PAUL!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sabrina B says:

    I think The Notebook is one of those movies where I can see the issues and plotholes (several of which you listed here) but I enjoy it anyway. Like some of Noah’s actions work the way they do partially because he’s played by Ryan Gosling and partially because Allie is clearly receptive to them (I cannot imagine reacting to his actions at the fair the same way she did). It’s also just generally well done with lots of memorable scenes, like the whole I wrote to you every day kiss in the rain scene is so memorable with the colours and setting etc. (It’s funny you got to this AFTER the memefication of If I’m a bird though)

    You didn’t cry at titanic, so not surprised this didn’t get a tear from you! It’s such a well acted scene though.

    ALSO this is 1 out of like 4 movies off the top of my head where the very handsome James Marsden ends up playing second fiddle to another man! Poor James.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I agree. There are many “if they just ___” moments in the movie, but in the end, I don’t really care because I enjoyed the movie. I was hearing/reading that people thought the Noah/Allie relationship was abusive and toxic, but I never came to that conclusion just because it seemed like they were speaking the same language. Not to dismiss abusive relationships, I just feel like the movie wasn’t insinuating, or trying to normalize that at all.

      Very good acting, yes. Almost forgot it was a movie at some points.

      Poor James, typecast as a second fiddle.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sabrina B says:

        Yeah I personally wouldn’t classify this as a toxic relationship? like you said they always seemed on the same page and I don’t think there was any kind of power imbalance or toxicity. I think the grand gesture/second fiddle/miscommunication were used pretty typically in terms of romance tropes.

        James doesn’t deserve it! Although I mean sometimes it makes more sense (see: Enchanted).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Now go watch The Bridges of Madison County. But please, give me a few days to recover from THIS post first. πŸ˜³πŸ˜›πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Belladonna says:

    I’ve never watched it but always meant to.

    Like

  5. Zoewiezoe says:

    Awww man, no tears even at the ending in the bed?
    You must be immune indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow the one movie I have not watched and have no urge too! I think I saw 5 minutes of the movie once, something about rain and kissing or hugging. I flipped the station immediately. Not a fan of chick flicks or romance.. maybe I’m bitter and old LOL love the fact you know 8 simple rules though. Kaley Cuoco for the win πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Haha fair enough! There isn’t as much romance in it as people make it sound. Like they aren’t kissing the whole movie. It’s more of a “Oh they like being with each other” story, like Titanic!

      Was a fan of Kaley Cuoco on that show and yet could never get into Big Bang Theory.

      Like

  7. Pingback: The week gone by β€” Jan. 31 – A Silly Place

  8. Dutch Lion says:

    Paul, you are so funny it’s just wonderful. You crack me up with your writing. By the way, I enjoyed the Notebook but haven’t seen it in a long time. As mentioned above, you might want to review “Bridges of Madison County” or maybe “Safe Haven” for similar-type movies.

    Reid “Dutch Lion”

    Liked by 1 person

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