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The Notebook

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PG-13
2004

In a modern-day nursing home, an elderly man named Duke begins to read a love story from his notebook to a female fellow patient who has lost her memory.

Set in 1940, at a carnival in Seabrook Island, South Carolina, local country boy Noah Calhoun sees 17-year-old heiress Allie Hamilton for the first time and is immediately smitten. She continuously refuses his persistent advances until their well-meaning friends lure them together; they then get to know each other on a midnight walk through empty Seabrook. Noah and Allie spend an idyllic summer together, though her wealthy parents are less than enthusiastic about him. One night Allie and Noah go up to an abandoned house called the Windsor Plantation, which Noah tells Allie he hopes to someday buy and restore. While at the Windsor Plantation, Allie and Noah lose track of time because they had decided to try to have sex. They start to,but do not get very far because Noah's friend, Fin, enters. Fin informs Allie and Noah that Allie's parents had grown concerned and called the police, since it was two in the morning. The couple rush to Allie's home, where Allie is forbidden by her parents from seeing Noah again. Noah believes her parents are right and that he is not good enough for her, and the two break up. Allie immediately regrets the decision but Noah drives away. The next morning, Allie's mother reveals that they are going home right away. Allie tries to find Noah at work to say goodbye, but he is out making a delivery; when Noah tries to see Allie at her house before she leaves, he finds her already gone. Noah, devastated by their separation, writes her one letter every day for a year, with no replies. Noah and Allie move on with their lives; Allie attends Sarah Lawrence College, while Noah enlists to fight in World War II.

Allie volunteers as a nurse's aide for wounded soldiers and meets the injured Lon Hammond, Jr., a wealthy and well-connected young lawyer who is handsome, sophisticated, charming, and comes from an old Southern family. The two eventually become engaged, to the joy of Allie's parents, although Allie wonders why she is reminded of Noah's face when Lon asks her to marry him. When Noah returns home, he discovers his father has sold their house so that Noah can go ahead and buy the Windsor Plantation. While visiting Charleston to file some paperwork, Noah witnesses Allie and Lon kissing at a restaurant. Devastated, Noah is consumed with restoring the house, wanting to believe that if he keeps his promise to her and fixes it up, Allie will come back to him. Finished, Noah tries to sell the plantation, but finds he cannot part with it. In 1947, while trying on her wedding dress, Allie spots an article about Noah's renovation on the Windsor Plantation in a newspaper and faints. She decides to visit Noah in Seabrook and he invites her to dinner, during which Allie tells Noah about her engagement. Later in the evening, Noah asks Allie to come back the next day so he can show her something.

In the present, it is made evident that the elderly woman is Allie suffering from dementia, which has stolen her memories and that Duke is her husband. Allie does not recognize their children and grandchildren, who beg Duke to come home with them. Duke insists on staying with Allie, refusing to abandon her.

Back in 1947, Allie and Noah go rowing on a nearby lake in the morning and reminisce about their summer together. He shows her a part of the creek where hundreds of ducks and swans have gathered, explaining that they will eventually leave when the summer ends. As a rain storm starts Noah rows to shore, where Allie, after getting a good look at him in the rain, demands to know why Noah never wrote to her. After Noah tells her he wrote to her every day for one year, he says their romance was never over and that it still is not over, and they share a passionate kiss before having sex. The next day, Allies mother appears on Noahs doorstep while Noah is out, telling Allie that Lon has followed her to Seabrook after Allie's father told him about Noah. Her mother takes Allie out for a drive to show her that there had been a time in her life when she could relate to Allie's present situation. In town, she points out a man and explains that she and he used to be "out of our minds in love" with each other, but it was a lifetime ago and she is happy with Allie's father. On returning to Noah's, Allie's mother hands her daughter the bundle of 365 letters that Noah had written to her. When alone, Noah asks Allie what she is going to do; Allie is confused and confesses that she doesnt know. Noah becomes frustrated that they are "back to this," the place where, even after they have loved each other completely and totally, they don't know if it is enough. Noah asks her to just stay with him, admitting that it is going to be really hard, and that they will fight, but he is willing to go through anything because he wants to be with her. Confused and upset as ever, Allie drives off.

While driving, Allie is almost involved in a car accident and pulls over on the side of the road shaken. There, she unties the stack of Noah's letters and opens the first one, reading it. She later drives to the hotel and confesses to Lon, who is angry but admits that he still loves her. He tells her that he does not want to convince his fiance that she should be with him, but Allie tells him he does not have to, because she already knows she should be with Lon, but she says she also loves and wants to be with Noah.

In the present, Duke asks his fellow patient whom Allie had chosen. She soon realizes the answer herself; young Allie appears at Noah's doorstep, having left Lon at the hotel and chosen Noah. They embrace in reunion. Duke's elderly companion suddenly realizes that she herself is Allie. She remembers her past, and that Duke is Noah. They joyfully spend a brief intimate moment together; after originally finding out about her impending illness, she had herself written their story in the notebook with the title and instructions for Noah: "The story of our lives, by Allie Calhoun. Read this to me, and I'll come back to you." But soon Allie relapses, losing her memories of Noah yet again. She panics, and has to be sedated by the attending physician. This proves to be too difficult for Noah to watch and he breaks down. The next morning, Noah is found unconscious in bed and he is rushed to the hospital; he later returns to the nursing home's intensive care ward. He goes to Allie's room later that night, and Allie remembers again. She asks him if he thinks their love can make miracles, and he says that miracles are what bring her back to him every time. She then asks him if he thinks their love can take them away together, and he replies, "I think our love can do anything we want it to." Noah's last words before falling asleep are "I'll be seeing you." The next morning, a nurse finds them in bed together, having both died holding each other's hands. The credits roll with a shot of the swans flying away.

The Notebook is a Romance, Drama movie released in 2004. It has a runtime of 123 min. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.8. It also holds a MetaScore of 53.

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7.8/10
53/100
Director
Nick Cassavetes
Stars
James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams
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