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A Review of The Notebook from a Skeptic-Turned-Fan

Listen, we all know The Notebook. Somehow, since its 2004 release, the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ novel has become a household name, and references to the movie are not uncommon in more recent romantic films. It seems that everyone thinks The Notebook literally reshaped the genre conventions of rom-com films and, in many ways, it did. 

Despite having a place in America’s heart for over a decade, I decided in a very angsty-teen, “will I ever find love” kind of way that I had no desire to entertain the thought that The Notebook would be worth my time to watch. For 20 years I maintained that mindset until I was convinced to watch it on Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend. So, without further ado, here is my review of The Notebook.

The first thing I noticed was that both Ally and Noah are hands-down INSANE. I mean, within the first quarter of the movie, Noah was hanging off of a Ferris Wheel and forcing Ally to agree to a date with him. Might I add, they had barely spoken and Ally had not shown any interest in him. So there’s that, but what more can I expect of my boy Nicky Sparks, right? 

After finally swallowing my pride and allowing myself to actually be drawn into the movie, I have to admit: shit went DOWN. First off, Noah sends Ally a letter every-day for a year after she tragically breaks things off with him and moves home for the fall, but instead of reading them and responding, Ally’s mother hides them — Not. Cool. Ally’s. Mom. Anyways, yeah, that’s a whole thing. 

Then there’s a lot of fluff but the gist is that Ally moves on and gets engaged and Noah just. . . builds a whole-ass house? On the scale of grand,romantic gestures, building a custom house for a woman you haven’t had contact with for years seems a bit. . . Psychotic? No tea, no shade but wow does that house cause some drama! Noah low-key goes crazy after finishing the house — he begins sporting a very Robin Williams, Jumanji-esque beard — and finds that he can’t stomach selling it to anyone. Then, literally on the day of her wedding, Ally sees a picture of Noah with the house and decides that instead of getting married to her hunky, hunky finance, she’s going to go visit him and “check on him”. Mhm, ok, sure — like that’s not going to be a whole thing. 

Then we have the classic Nicholas Sparks lovefest where our two favorite star-crossed lovers have a blissful few days where Ally conveniently forgets she’s getting married, and Noah didn’t have any plans because all he’s been doing is waiting for this exact moment. And, just like that, all good things come to an end.

I will say: the moment Ally’s mom showed up and Ally answered the door in a blanket, I GASPED. What a situation! You’ve completely deserted your, (have I mentioned?) hunky, hunky fiance, and now you’re shacked up with your former summer romance? It’s the fifties for crying out loud. Of course, then we have the, “it’s almost the end of the movie so we need to make some decisions,” part of the movie.

I’m sure we all know that Ally ends up with Noah, and that the story revolves around him reading to Ally every day in an effort to draw her out of her dementia: allowing her to remember their epic love (cue tears). I’ll say it — I didn’t think I was going to cry, but the minute I saw that the notebook Noah was reading from was written by Ally to help her remember, I almost LOST IT. I thought that was the end and that I had pretty much made it through the movie without completely losing my mind — I was very wrong.

I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR THE ENDING. I think I had literal rivers streaming down my face, which I suppose isn’t an uncommon reaction to the end of that whole saga of a love story. All in all, I was very skeptical of this movie and in many ways I still think The Notebook is only as good as it is because of its place in meme culture. Despite that, I finally understand what all the hype is about and from now on, I think I can count myself a fan.

Charlotte Krause is a senior studying to receive her bachelor’s in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at MSU. Her written works range from pieces on popular culture, including film reviews and curated recommendations, to articles about mental health and politics. Charlotte avidly believes that written works have the power to shape and create new lives, worlds, and identities and plans to continue contributing to the global cacophony of written works. Follow me @char_kra on Instagram!
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