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Film / The Notebook

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Allie: They fell in love, didn't they?
Duke: Yes, they did.

The Notebook is the 2004 film adaptation of the novel of the same name written by Nicholas Sparks. It was directed by Nick Cassavetes and written by Jeremy Leven from a story by Jan Sardi. The film was released on June 25, 2004.

In 1940, Noah "Duke" Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) and Allison "Allie" Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) have a summer romance. They have hopelessly fallen in love with each other. It goes to pieces as he is a working class guy and she is a socialite, with her parents not believing in their love. They split up but the love doesn't die. Seven years later, they meet up again and the sparks fly. But can they get back together again after all that happened between then and now?

The film also stars James Garner as the older Noah Calhoun, Gena Rowlands as the older Allie Calhoun, James Marsden as Lon Hammond, Jr., Sam Shepard as Frank Calhoun and Joan Allen as Anne Hamilton.

The Notebook provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In the book, Noah and Allie have a consistently happy summer romance that begins with a pleasant introduction and ends on an optimistic note. In the movie, their relationship begins when Noah manipulates Allie into going on a date with him; from there it's characterized by frequent arguments and "nothing in common,", though deep love, ends with a screaming fight, and nearly ends a second time with another screaming fight.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: "Kokoro no Doa" is the theme song for the Japanese version.
  • Bath of Angst: After Allie sees Noah again in the paper.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Noah gets one at one point in the story.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Noah and Allie's rain-soaked kiss has ascended to iconic status.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    Duke: Good night, I'll be seeing you.
  • Caught in the Rain: This happens to Noah and Allie and ultimately leads to them rekindling their love.
  • Comforting the Widow: Noah also tries to comfort himself while comforting the war widow.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates:
    • Though the mother is more active in this trope, the parents don't like Noah being the working type.
    • When Allie's mother was younger, she was on the receiving end of this trope because her father didn't like her boyfriend for the same reasons that she doesn't like Noah being with her daughter.
  • Death by Adaptation: Noah. The book has a sequel known as The Wedding which focuses on his son-in-law Wilson, where Noah plays a supporting role.
  • December–December Romance: A deleted scene outlines this exact scenario with a background couple.
  • Determinator: Noah won't leave Allie alone until she agrees to go on a date with him. Even when they're old and Allie has dementia, he's determined to spark her memory by reading her the story of how they fell in love every day.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Oh, quite disposable. Not very surprising, seeing how it's James Marsden.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: The scene of Allie and Noah breaking up where she repeatedly pushes him against the car and slaps him is supposed to be viewed as romantic angst of some sort in the movie but is otherwise disturbing to the average viewer who can see that as assault.
  • Empathic Environment: The most lighthearted and romantic scenes in the movie are dappled in golden sunlight. The most serious and angsty scenes take place amid a Gray Rain of Depression.
  • Faint in Shock: Allie faints during her wedding dress fitting when she sees Noah's picture in the newspaper —She'd thought that he was out of her life forever.
  • Falling-in-Love Montage: Yes, quite.
  • Fancy Dinner: Noah's introduction to Allie's family.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Allie and Lon, a soldier she met as a nurse during WWII.
  • Forever Fling: The Trope Codifier. Allie uses her short-lived youthful romance with Noah as the yardstick for her longer-term adult relationship with Lon. Meanwhile, Noah is still so wrapped up in his history with Allie that he just can't bring himself to move on from her.
  • Framing Device: The story is told by an old man to an old lady with Alzheimer's. The old couple turn out to be the couple in the story.
  • Happily Ever After
    Duke: And they lived happily ever after.
    Allie: Who? (Cue The Reveal)
  • Happily Married: Allie and Noah, of course, end up this way.
  • The Hero Dies: Both Noah and Allie die together in their sleep at the end.
  • Hidden Depths: Noah and his father are both surprisingly literate for working-class heroes.
  • Higher Education Is for Women: Allie has grown up expecting to go to college, specifically Sarah Lawrence; Noah has never had any such intentions.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Lon becomes this only after Noah comes back into Allie's life.
  • Idealized Sex: Once Allie and Noah are back together, they go at it like rabbits, which she thoroughly enjoys despite it being her first time.
    Allie: You gotta be kiddin' me. All this time, that's what I've been missin'? Let's do it again.
  • I Never Got Any Letters: Textbook example. He sent 365 letters, and she got none of them because her mother was hiding them.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: As Allie and Noah argue over whether to stay with him or return to Lon, he tells her that if she wants to be with Lon, "Go. I lost you once, I think I could do it again, if I thought that was what you really wanted."
    • Martha recognizes early on that Noah is not fully committed to her. When she meets Allie, she realizes why and gives her blessing to Noah's relationship with her.
  • Love at First Sight: Noah is victim of this when he first sees Allie. Allie does not suffer the same.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: "After seeing Allie that day, something inside Noah snapped. [...] Some called it a labor of love, others called it something else, but in fact, Noah had gone a little mad."
  • Love Triangle: Noah, Allie, and Lon in the second half of the movie.
  • Missing Mom:
    • Noah's mother is only mentioned in passing in a deleted scene. No other reference is made to her existence. The book specifies that she is dead.
    • Gus' mother died of influenza when he was two.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Lon considers (or distastefully jokes about) this option near the end of the movie. This isn't that kind of movie, however.
  • Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: Complete with Swans A-Swimming.
  • Opposites Attract: The movie explicitly states that young Noah and Allie have nothing in common and quarrel constantly.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: Allie's mother scoffs at Allie falling in love a day-laborer in the first act. In the third act, however, she shows Allie that she once loved a day-laborer as well, but instead married Allie's father. She still has feelings for the working man as well.
  • Race for Your Love: Noah races to make up with Allie at the end of Act 1, when she moves away.
  • Rejection Affection: Allie only falls in love with Noah after rejecting him repeatedly only for him to persist.
  • The Reveal: Duke and Allie are Noah and Allie from the story! It's actually more of a reveal to Allie than it is to the audience, given that they already figured out who Allie was.
  • Rewatch Bonus: The present-day scenes get this for those who don't immediately realize that the old couple is the older version of Noah and Allie. Case in point, the scene where their children visit and introduce themselves is very tense and you realize it's because it kills them that their own mother doesn't know who they are. Meanwhile, Allie's studying them like she's clearly trying to remember them, indicating that somewhere deep in her mind, she does know.
  • Rich Bitch / Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Allie's classist mother is this in spades. While she loves her daughter and believes that Noah is a nice boy, she sees class before Allie’s happiness. She spends most of the book/movie trying to keep them apart before relenting.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Lon and Noah, respectively, though both are genuinely nice guys who adore Allie.
  • Romance Arc: It is a romance after all, even though Sparks will claim it's a "love story."
  • Scatterbrained Senior: The Allie in the present day.
  • Second Love: Although he's the rare version who gets dumped for the first love when they resurface, Lon is arguably this to Allie.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Noah and Allie's relationship is very much like this, with this exact thing happening in an early scene.
  • Southern Belle: Allie and her mother.
  • Southern Gentleman: John Hamilton.
  • Snow Means Death: Noah's friend Fin is killed by German fighter planes on a snowy day during World War II.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Noah and Allie cheat on their partners with each other. While Noah's relationship is more like a Friends with Benefits situation, Allie's fiance adores her, and she him, as she explicitly states. But it's still seen as perfectly okay that she sleeps with Noah.
  • Together in Death: Despite Alzheimer's keeping them apart, Noah and Allie manage to die together in the end.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Averted. When Noah and Allie consummate their relationship and she spends the next several days at his house, she repeatedly wears the dress she wore the first day, having left everything at the hotel she was staying at.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Noah and Allie after they reunite, especially during the dinner scene. Of course, the tension is soon resolved by being Caught in the Rain.
  • Uptown Girl:
    • Allie is upper class; Noah is working class.
    • Allie's mother reveals that she was in a similar situation where she was an upper class woman who loved a working class man. Unlike her daughter, she never married him because her father objected to their relationship.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: While we know what happened to Fin, his girlfriend Sarah is never seen or heard from again in either version of the story.