Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Notebook: what you want...


At a modern-day nursing home, an elderly man named Duke (James Garner) begins to read a romantic story from his notebook to a fellow patient (Gena Rowlands).

The story he tells begins in 1940. In Seabrook Island, South Carolina, local country boy Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) is smitten with seventeen-year-old heiress Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) after seeing her at a carnival, and they share an idyllic summer love affair. Noah takes Allie to an abandoned house, which he explains that he intends to restore the house.  And Allie requests to have her own spot in the house, a room to paint, overlooking the lake. It was some sort of a reaffirmation that she intends to marry him.

Later that evening, she asks him to make love to her, but they are interrupted by Noah's friend Fin (Kevin Connolly) with the news that Allie's parents have the police out looking for her. When Allie and Noah return to her parents' mansion, they ban her from seeing Noah, whom they called "trash, trash, trash". Knowing that her parents do not approve of him, Noah leaves the house, much to Allie's frustration that her fiery temper gets to her head.

The two break up, in the fits of Allie's temper. The next morning, Allie's mother announces that the family is returning home to Charleston. Desperate, Allie searches for Noah at the lumberyard but he's not there. Fin instead asks her to leave Noah alone, that it's not going to work out. She asks him to tell Noah that she loves him and that she's sorry. She leaves by asking Fin to tell Noah to write to her.

For a year, Noah writes a letter to Allie each day. But the letters are intercepted by Allie's mother (Joan Allen), leaving Allie to feel that Noah has forgotten her.

Noah and Allie have no choice but to move on with their lives; Noah and Fin enlist to fight in World War II and Fin is killed in battle. Allie becomes a volunteer in a hospital for wounded soldiers, where she meets an officer named Lon Hammond, Jr. (James Marsden), a young lawyer who is handsome, sophisticated, charming and comes from old Southern money. The two eventually become engaged, to the delight of Allie's parents, but Allie sees Noah's face when Lon asks her to marry him.

When Noah returns home from the war, he discovers his father has sold their home so that Noah can buy the abandoned house, fulfilling his lifelong dream to buy it for the departed Allie, whom by now he hasn't seen for several years. While visiting Charleston, Noah witnesses Allie and Lon kissing at a restaurant; he convinces himself that if he restores the house, Allie will come back to him. Some says he works on the house like a madman, and when he completes it, he refuses to sell it, regardless of the price offered.

Later, during a bridal gown fitting, Allie is startled to read in the newspaper that Noah has restored the house that she faints there and then. Knowing that she has to see him, Allie visits Noah in Seabrook.

In the present, it is made clear that the elderly woman is in fact Allie, who is suffering from dementia and cannot remember any of the events being read to her. Duke, the man who is reading to her, is her husband, but Allie cannot recognize him.

Back in the forties, Allie and Noah renew their relationship by spending time together, as friends. Her feelings come back to her and she questions Noah for not writing to her before. When she knows the truth, and that Noah still has feelings for her, they make love at Noah's now-restored house. In the morning, Allie's mother appears on Noah's doorstep, warning Allie that Lon knows about Noah being her first love back in Seabrook and thus has decided to follow her there. Confused, Allie tells Noah that she's going back to talk to Lon, much to Noah's frustration that they fight.

As Allie reads Noah's letters, she knows she has to confess to Lon about Noah and her feelings. He is upset but says that he still loves her. Allie tells him she knows she should be with him, but she remains indecisive.

In the present, Allie becomes briefly lucid and remembers that the story Duke is reading is the story of how they met. Young Allie appears at Noah's doorstep, having left Lon at the hotel. Elderly Allie suddenly remembers her past; after finding out about her illness, she herself wrote their story in the notebook with instructions for Noah to "read this to me, and I'll come back to you". But Allie soon relapses, losing her memories of Noah. She panics, not understanding who he is, and has to be sedated. That same night Noah is hospitalised with what seems to be another heart attack.

When released from the hospital, Elderly Noah ("Duke") goes to Allie's room to find her lucid again. Allie questions Noah about what will happen to them when she loses her memory completely, and he reassures her that he will never leave her. She asks him if he thinks their love for each other is strong enough to "take them away together"; he replies that he thinks their love could do anything. After telling each other that they love one another, they both go to sleep in Allie's bed. The next morning, a nurse finds them dead in each other's arms.

I was taken by the story. Duke's voice captivated me as he reads the Notebook to Miss Allie. no wonder this is a famous romance movie, top 12 high-grossing romance movie at the moment. Noah and Allie draw you in. He was charming, she was lovable. Though, I find issues in Allie's parents being so carefree when their daughter spends every waking hour of the summer with Noah.

The storyline is beautiful, moving even. That Duke (elderly Noah) still has faith in Allie's ability to come back, to remember him.. The scene by the counter the night before they die, moves me. If I were the nurse, I would totally do the same. James Garner delivers the lines so convincingly! to be the subject of such devotion, man, I'd love that very much.

Lon was a honorable man too. The way he understood Allie, her reservations about him and her feelings. It is a rare man to love that much but still can release her to be with her first love.  

The issue I have with this film is that it's too perfect, too easy for Allie to get her dreams. True, she longs for Noah for 7 years but we didn't get to see her suffering, merely by mentions that she cried every night for a year. Maybe it's wrong to ask for that but I have this feeling that Noah is the only one suffering. He's stuck in the same place, even the girl he's seeing, Martha doesn't get him to love her. The way she said to him, after spending time to know Allie, was touching. "At least now I have something to look forward to-", meaning now she knows she will have to move on, that at least she knows where she's heading. away.

alahai. this is a sad story by Nicholas Sparks. I know I'd cry buckets reading it..

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