The Notebook (2004)


The Notebook is a 2004 romantic drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes, based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. The movie stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as a young couple who fall in love during the early 1940s. Their story is narrated from the present day by an elderly man played by James Garner, telling the tale to a fellow nursing home resident, played by Gena Rowlands.


The film opens with an eldery man reading out of a notebook to an elderly woman about a story between two young lovers, Allie and Noah. Allie Hamilton is a girl from a wealthy family spending summer in Seabrook. She meets Noah Calhoun, a local boy who works at the lumber mill. Over the summer, their romance blooms and they spend every waking moment together. One night, Noah takes Allie to an old abandoned house that he promises to buy and rebuild for her. They are about to make love when they are interrupted by Noah's friend, who informs them that Allie's parents had called the cops to search for her. At her house, her parents tell her that Noah isn't good enough for her, which he overhears. He starts to leave and Allie follows him, which leads to an argument. Allie and Noah break up, but immediately regret the decision. Allie's family leaves Seabrook the next day and Noah, devastated, writes her one letter every day for a year plus one last farewell letter. He never hears back from her because her mother hides all the letters. After Allie doesn't reply to his goodbye letter, Noah decides to move on. He enlists for World War II and meanwhile Allie attends College. While in college, Allie volunteers as a nurse's aide for wounded soldiers and meets the injured Lon Hammond, Jr. — a wealthy young lawyer who is handsome, charming, and from an old Southern United States family. To the joy of Allie's parents, they become engaged; meanwhile, Noah returns home. While visiting Charleston, South Carolina, Noah witnesses Allie and Lon kissing. Devastated, Noah restores the old house, believing that if he keeps his promise to her, Allie will come back. Once he is finished, Noah tries to sell it, but cannot part with it. In the present, it is evident that the elderly woman is Allie and Noah is her husband. She does not recognize their family, who beg Noah to come home with them. Noah insists on staying with his wife. The film switches back to 1947. Allie reads about Noah's house in the paper and decides to visit him. They talk and have dinner. The next day, Noah takes Allie out on the lake and it starts to rain. On the way back, Allie gets upset and demands to know why Noah never wrote to her. Noah tells her he wrote to her every day for one year. He says to her "It wasn't over. It still isn't over." He pulls her face to his and starts to kiss her, and they make love. After two days of passion, Allie's mother appears while Noah is out and says that Lon has followed her to Seabrook. Allie's mother takes Allie for a drive and explains how she too once had a summer romance, and that she still watches her ex-lover sometimes. They drive back to Noah's house, and he is sitting on the porch. She hands her daughter the bundle of 366 letters that Noah had written, saying that she hopes Allie makes the right choice. She drives away and Allie goes to sit on the porch with Noah. She explains how Lon is in town and how the past few days had been wonderful, but very irresponsible. Noah is furious, accusing her of only loving Lon for his money, and says that if she leaves, he will hate her forever. She storms toward her car, and Noah yells after her that she's bored with her life, and if she wasn't she wouldn't have come. He begs her to stay with him, saying that he knows they fight and is willing to work it out every day if that's what it takes. He tells her that if she really wants to be with Lon, then she should go, because he lost her once and could do it again. Confused, Allie drives off. Distraught, Allie stops her car, reads Noah's goodbye letter, and then drives to the hotel where Lon is staying. Lon says that he has three choices: Kill Noah, beat him, or leave Allie. He says that none of them let him keep her, and that he loves her. She says she loves him too, but that she feels like two different people when she's with Lon and when she's with Noah. She says she knows she should be with Lon, but she wants to be with Noah. At which we are transported back to present day, where the elderly Noah and Allie sit in his room, and he says, "And they lived happily ever after," which makes Allie remember who she is and what happened: Allie appears at Noah's doorstep, and they embrace. Present day Allie and Noah embrace as well. A few years before, after finding out about her impending dementia, she wrote their story in the notebook with instructions for Noah inside: "The story of our lives, by Allie Calhoun. Read this to me, and I'll come back to you." But soon Allie relapses, and she finds herself in, to her, a stranger's arms. She yells for help, and nurses come to calm her down. The next morning, Noah is found unconscious in bed, and he is rushed to the hospital. He goes to Allie's room later that night, and they start talking about how they were in love then Allie remembers who they are, they fall asleep together and die in their sleep holding hands.