December 4, 2011

Guest Review: The Notebook

'The Notebook' is one of my all-time favourite movies. It takes pride of place on the chick-flick shelf of my DVD collection, waiting for those rainy days when a girl needs a little old-fashioned romance to lift her spirits. Many thanks to Megan from Storybook Love Affair for ticking one film adaptation off my ‘to review’ list, by contributing this marvelous guest post. 


Having read The Notebook after first watching the film, I have to admit that I did enjoy the movie more. In most cases I try to read the book first before it’s made into a film, and usually this results in me liking the book better – so my feelings in this circumstance are a little unusual.

In the novel version, it’s the lyrical and hypnotic prose that Nicholas Sparks is so famous for that has the most effect. He has a real gift for simple storytelling and is able to create a life-like world through his vivid descriptions of places and people, accentuating these descriptions beautifully with colour and poetry.

Ryan Gosling as Noah Calhoun
What makes The Notebook especially unique is not just the romanticism it celebrates, but also the fact that it is based on a true story. And this true story is one that has never really been told before, and certainly not reflected in this light.

Sparks writes of an elderly man who reads a notebook to an old woman in a nursing home. The story he reads tells of a young couple, Noah and Allie, who fell in love during a brief summer holiday romance. The couple are separated for years, and Allie becomes engaged to another man before they eventually reunite and rekindle their relationship.

It is around this time that we realise it is an older Noah who is reading the notebook to his wife Allie, who is in hospital suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Allie’s memory has deteriorated and she struggles to recognise her husband, but Noah doesn’t give up and she gradually starts to remember him again.

The movie version tells a similar story, with a few changes interspersed throughout. The film begins when Noah and Allie are first introduced to each other at a carnival. I loved that Allie played a little hard-to-get at first, as Noah chased after her. For some reason, the story the movie tells makes more sense to me and I felt like I could relate to it more.

The movie is perfection in every sense of the word. The costumes; the cars; the haunting scenery of North Carolina; Noah’s beautiful old plantation home and the early post-war setting are just a few of the things I loved about this film.

Rachel McAdams as Allie Hamilton
But it is the actors who make this movie truly magical. Ryan Gosling is perfect in his portrayal of Noah and has his serious, thoughtful and playful sides all down to a tee. Rachel McAdams is beautiful as Allie; James Garner, as the older Noah, gives a truly believable performance; and Gena Rowlands, as the older Allie, is nothing short of brilliant.

What the movie really reflects – and I think the novel kind of lacked – is that heart-warming sense of a long life filled with an unforgettable love.

Noah and Allie’s love affair extends into old age, and unlike most love stories we see in books and films today, this story takes us beyond the mere beginning of a true love and all the way to the end – in the process, celebrating the sanctity of marriage.

The Notebook is ultimately an epic love story, where the underlying and most lasting message is that true love never dies. I highly recommended you to both read and watch this enchanting love story and get lost in the competing worlds of both language and imagery. Both are sure to impress.

Would you like to know more about the film adaptations of Nicholas Sparks' novels? Nicholas Sparks, the king of film adaptations


  1. Thanks again Megan! I have to say, I was especially happy to receive your review, and I agreed with all of your sentiments.

  2. I love this movie too, but don't watch it that often, because I'm prone to crying through the last half of it. ;)

  3. I did finally see this a while back (probably a couple of years ago now) and just didn't love it. I mean, it was "okay," and I'd watch it again but it is not my most fav romantic drama. I was surprised they ended up together because I had assumed they didn't.

  4. You are a hard girl to please Rissi ;) I LOVED the Notebook!

  5. Thanks for having me on here Danielle! I've just done a little write up about your site with a link back to this page from my blog - it can be found at

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair