The Notebook turns fifteen-years-old today! As one of the defining movies of my late teen years, I have fond memories of seeing the movie in theaters, then bawling my eyes out at how perfect Allie and Noah’s love was.
Not so fast, says today’s feminists.
In an opinion piece published by USA Today, writer Carly Mallenbaum called the movie a “dangerous dumpsterfire” and said she was “embarrassed that I fell for a tale about a stalker who likes the way a girl looks on a carnival ride, and so he spends the rest of his life pining for her, despite not appreciating anything else about her.”
She then goes on to criticize everything else about the movie.
After she politely declines his overtures, he follows her onto a Ferris wheel and proceeds to dangle from the ride by one hand, threatening to slip unless Allie agrees to go on a date with him. She’s forced to say yes.
I’m forced to yell, “This is bull!” at my TV.
And calls their relationship “unhealthy.”
In Allie’s titular notebook (from which this story is told via flashback with Gena Rowlands and James Garner as the elder Allie and Noah), she writes: “They didn’t agree on much. In fact, they rarely agreed on anything.”
Can we all agree that this is unhealthy? And, frankly, just bad storytelling?
Mallenbaum thinks Noah is verbally abusive and then brings up how the novel’s author Nicholas Sparks’ recent troubles tarnishes the movie version even more.
Probably because she confuses security with boredom, and mistakes verbal abuse for passion. Also: She thinks that the fact that she no longer paints is an indicator that she’s unhappy in her relationship. Really, it might be an indicator that she doesn’t actually like to paint.
But even on its own, “The Notebook” teaches impressionable young women that they ought to be pursued by men who see them as prey. (Noah literally says this about Allie: “When I see something that I like, well … I go crazy for it.”)
Essentially, the film romanticizes toxic relationships and promulgates an unhealthy culture of jerk worship. My teenage self deserved better.
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty tired of people ruining everything that’s nostalgic. It’s a chick flick. It’s not real life. Sometimes people just want a mindless romantic comedy to watch.