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The Movie “Notebook”

The movie “Notebook” unfolds the love story of main characters, Noah and Allie, in a more tragic, pathetic and striking fashion because of the change of the emphasis on young years of the characters and due to a highly dramatic final. In addition to this, the more powerful effect of the movie is based on more consistent script creation procedure (compared to the book).

The books of Nicholas Sparks are very impressive overall, and the Notebook is one of his greatest creations. Nicholas Sparks himself states he knew that Notebook would be popular even before he wrote the first words of this book. The love story of two old people shown during the whole scope of their life is extremely tender and inspiring, and at the same tragic and intensive, because it raises the questions of old age and the fragility of human life. He was not sure whether this novel would have a commercial success because of the specifics of modern popular art. Many agents declined the novel as they thought it did not match the business specifics of the publishing world (Wasowski 7). However, the audience does value deep and truly emotional creations, and the success of Notebook proved this.

The story called Notebook tells us about the great love of Noah and Allie from their young years through nursing home where Allie is trying to overcome the loss of memory and Alzheimer’s. To remind own identity to her and to support their amazing love, Noah reads the pages from own notebook revealing the events of their life and his love for Allie. Two different life spans are shown in the story, and the power of love crossing separation, illness and the fear of decline in this book and movie is shown both in am amazing way. However, there are major differences between the book and the movie which make the movie more expressive and more dramatic compared to the book (although the book is truly engaging in its own way).

Nicholas Sparks states in an interview that he was not sure whether he’d succeed in pulling off the necessary words in the paper, because although he had the story in his mind, choosing the proper words and expressing the emotional intensity was quite a challenging task. Also, Nicholas Sparks notes that he wrote this novel from the last third (Wasowski 8), and that he was tending to decide first of all what would be the ending of the novel. He was actually doubting that he would have the ability to write the last part of the novel in a proper manner, and passed on to writing the beginning already after the final was finished. The last thing he wrote for Notebook was prologue (Wasowski 8).

Nicholas Sparks states that he is writing in a style common to Greek tragedies (Wasowski 9), where love and drama were intertwined. He claims he is using similar means of expression: the stories should touch the whole range of human emotions, but not manipulate them, characters should be original and interesting, and the story should not turn into melodramatic one, and stay being true to life. However, it seems that the producers of the movie Notebook have succeeded in following these principles even better than the author himself did. Many reviews state that the movie is more dynamic than the book (Ebert 507), characters there are more vivid and the final is more aligned with the whole concept of the story than the final in the book.

The major differences between the book and the movie are the following. The movie uniquely alternates between the memories of Noah and Allie, showing different life events of these characters in the teenage period, in the more adult years, and up to their elderly ages. Although both life spans can also be traced in the book, the movie focuses more on the young years of Noah and Allie, and manages to show the characters in more in-depth an original manner compared to the book. This effect is partly reached because the story of Notebook is a perfect match for screening (Another Tear-Jerker from Nicholas Sparks), and there are plenty of moments which can be depicted in a most impressive way using the methods of screening rather than book description. However, there are particularly important changes in the movie which helped to create a more dramatic effect on the audience. The notebook in the movie belongs to Allie, and the old character, “Duke”, reads the notes and rediscovers Allie to himself as well as to herself (Another Tear-Jerker from Nicholas Sparks). This is a great idea to make the notebook belong to Allie because she might recognize herself and her feelings in these records more naturally, and another important effect of this decision is that Noah experiences their love story once again and rediscovers Allie’s feelings for him reading these notes.

The script of Notebook movie also strongly differs from the book because of the ending. In both versions the old lady believes that Allie chose Noah, and recognizes their love in the story. They have a dinner, hug each other, talk and share their love, but in about 4 hours Allie forgets Noah again, starts hallucinating and panicking. In the book, Noah sneaks into Allie’s room in the nursing home on their anniversary and hopes that she would remember him and realize that they were the real characters in this story. She recognizes him finally in the book and in the movie, but in the movie, they lay together, fall asleep in each other’s arms, and pass away peacefully in their sleep with the feeling of care and tenderness and expression of love on their faces (Ebert 511). In my opinion, the final of the movie is more dramatic and more matches the spirit of the story than the more “ordinary” final of the book. Some of the teenagers have also expressed such an opinion, according to the surveys of students (Burnett 373).

The sequence of writing had a strong impact on the choice of means of expression in both finals. As Nicholas Sparks fist wrote the final of the story, the focus of the book is more on the old years of the characters, while in the movie the focus is made on the younger years. Furthermore, the unfolding of the story in the book was written to fit the final, and there is some feeling of inconsistency between the mood of the first two parts of the book and the final. As the script was created in a different manner, it uses two life spans and does not reveal the identity of main characters but lets the audience to reconstruct this identity on their own (Another Tear-Jerker from Nicholas Sparks). Furthermore, the authors of the script chose not to over-concentrate on the old age period of the characters (Ebert 512) and managed to show more impressively the love story of the characters in their young age and in their adult period, their struggle with the limitations of the social groups and their courage to stay with each other despite many obstacles. These characters do deserve the movie final where they pass away peacefully together, full of returned love and happiness.

 

Works Cited

Another Tear-Jerker from Nicholas Sparks. The Gympie Times [Gympie], April 16, 2010.
Burnett, Josephine. Elementary preservice teachers’ constructions of themselves as students and as teachers: A collaborative narrative autobiographical approach. ProQuest, 2007.
Ebert, Roger. Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook 2007. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2006.
Wasowski, Richard P. CliffsNotes The Notebook Teacher’s Guide. John Wiley and Sons, 2009.