The Notebook Review

Continuities – “Nothing is ever really lost, or can be lost. No birth, identity, form – no object from the world. Nor life, nor force, nor any visible thing; Appearance must not foil, nor shifted sphere confuse thy brain. Ample are time and space – ample the field and nature.”

What Wilt Whitman says in his poem is completely true; nothing in the universe is ever truly lost. It is instead merely recycled and used as the building blocks for something new. The big bang was billions of years ago, but despite all that time every atom, proton or electron still resonates till this day because they exist forever in me and you. Just imagine it right now inside of you is potentially the same atoms that once belonged to the beating heart of a sun, or imagine that one day in your distant future one single atom of your body could be used to ignite life on a distant planet. This is all interesting and that, but what does this have to do with The Notebook? Well in the beating heart of The Notebook is an energy that spans entire lives, that endures despite sickness and health or even rich or poor and that is love. What is love? Unlike the mysteries of the universe and the nature of existences itself, love will always be the final mystery that man will never solve. Because you can’t contextualise, conceptualise it, it’s not something to be pondered, instead it’s something that has to be felt. But once it is truly experienced, you can feel like birds flying in the sky, ducks gliding across water or even superman leaping over tall buildings in one single bound.

And it was Nick Cassavetes using Nicholas Sparks’ novel, who was able use love and its ability to be both big and beautiful yet minute an abstract as the essences of The Notebook and cement the film as probably the greatest, most enduring love stories ever crafted in the 21st century. The film opens up with stunning picturesque image of a loan a male figure rowing a boat across a lake enveloped in a warm blanket of dark purples and reds, whist above his head ducks fly past him with their white wings that make them look like angels up against the dark complexion of the sky. The camera pulls back to reveal a beautiful old woman looking on from behind a window, on the surface she looks lost and unsure, but through her eyes and inter her soul, she feels something very deep for this man.

“I’m just a common man with common thoughts; I’ve lived a common life. There are no plaudits dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten”. It is soon made clear that the identity of the rower is a resident of an old people’s home who makes a daily effort to read a powerful story to the confused woman every day, who we now know has dementia – her own memories now appear like strangers on the street that she passes by without a second glances. But because she has memory lost, for her the stories are being told for the first time; while to him he has read it possibly millions of times, yet at the same time for each of them the story maintains its ability to captivate and exude a special magical quality. And that story is one about true love.
Noah is a charismatic wild man who when he sees something or somebody he likes, all sense elevates his body and he must do whatever it takes to be next to them. That’s when he meets Allie, a classy, kind soul of a southern bell with a dimpled smile so bright it makes the sun close his eyes. And because of this he soon finds himself dangling with one arm on a ferries wheel, “Get down Noah, you’re gonna kill yourself!” But he doesn’t care, because he sees something in Allie that he likes very much.
“It’s not that simple” because despite Allies and Noah ensuing romances, Allies traditional upper class family are cynical and resilient towards it, to the extent that the young lovers are pulled mercilessly apart. Noah writes to Allie everyday for a year, but somehow he’s poetic words fall on deaf ears and he never hears a reply. The subsequent seven years; Noah goes to war and loses his best friend and Allie is soon engaged to be married to a gentleman her parents would say was more befitting of her. But like I said, true love can never be destroyed. True love is eternal and always finds a way back into our hearts again.

Notoriously throughout the production of The Notebook, Ryan Gosling and Rachael McAdams were said to have literally despised each other; which is flabbergasting to know because their on screen chemistry was absolutely palpable and scintillating, like a candle it burned bright throughout the entire film. But for me the true genius is Nicholas Sparks for consistently producing such amazing love stories; A Walk to Remember, Dear John and Message in a Bottle are all his creations. Out of seventeen published novels, nine of them have been adapted in films. However undoubtedly his finest achievement was The Notebook, a film that filled you with warmth and beauty like a setting sun and made you fall under the magic spell of the wonder of humanities infinite ability to show and feel love.

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