I don’t remember what made me buy The Notebook on DVD in the first place. When it arrived from Amazon it sat in its cellophane for some time, before eventually being taken along on a girly night in. The wrapping was finally opened… and wow, was it worth the wait! I haven’t read the novel by Nicholas Sparks, but now I definitely will. Therefore, the story was a complete surprise to me. So imagine my confusion at the beginning of the film when, after seeing two bright young things on the DVD cover, I am confronted with elderly people in a home. It soon becomes clear, though.
In the nursing home, the tale begins when a kindhearted man goes to read to another resident, who is suffering from senile dementia. The woman is quickly entranced by the tale, spurring the reader on, and the story unfolds…
In the book, set in the early 1940s, a country boy catches sight of a girl and is immediately drawn to her. However, she is rich and he is poor, leading her to turn down his offer of a date on several occasions. Eventually, though, two of their mutual friends set them up and Allie realises that Noah is in fact a fine young man, despite his background. The two become close and fall deeply in love. They are inseparable and spend all the time together that they can, knowing in the back of their minds that the summer will soon be over and they’ll have to make some tough decisions.
Presently, though, Allie’s parents intervene. On discovering their daughter is not in her bed at 2am, a full-scale search is launched, leading them ultimately to a deserted house in which Allie and Noah are on the brink of making love for the first time. However, it is not to be and the two rush back to Allie’s parents’ summer home – to be faced with two very angry parents now determined to force them apart. They succeed and take Allie away – leaving the pair broken-hearted. Noah, still desperately in love, writes to Allie every day for a year, determined not to lose her. However, her mother hides the letters and Allie is devastated to think that the man she thought was her true love has forgotten her so easily.
On the arrival of World War II, Noah heads abroad to serve his country. In the meantime, Allie becomes a nurse, looking after sick and injured soldiers, knowing that in a way she is helping Noah by aiding his fellow fighters. The tale takes a twist when Allie falls for another man after helping him in the hospital. Lon (played by James Marsden) pursues Allie, easily winning over her parents, then pops the question. Noah’s face fleetingly passes through Allie’s mind as she accepts.
On returning from the war, Noah discovers that his father has sold his house to help his only son fund his lifelong dream – to restore the beautiful mansion he promised Allie he would one day own. He rebuilds and decorates the house to her specification, securing a photograph and an article in the newspaper, which by a strange coincidence ends up next to Allie’s wedding announcement. After seeing her wedding announcement, Allie flips open the paper to see Noah’s facing peering out. Instantly, she is thrown into turmoil, particularly as she sees that he has fulfilled his dream of owning and fixing up the mansion. She decides to pay him one last visit before her wedding.
Noah is delighted to see Allie, although he’s unsure of her motives. Awkward at first, the two soon become accustomed to one another’s company again and after being caught in a freak rainstorm, their passion is reignited. Allie is torn. She realises her feelings for Noah never went away, but she’s now promised to become the wife of another man. What will she do?
Decades later in the nursing home, the story reaches its highly emotional conclusion. This is an absolutely beautiful story. The DVD cover claims that The Notebook is the most romantic film since Titanic. I wouldn’t disagree. Girls, there won’t be a dry eye in the house after watching this film. I loved it and can’t wait to get my hands on the book.