I have never been under The Notebook’s spell.
Even as a teenager, when lots of other girls were freaking out about the “epic” romance between Ryan Gosling’s Noah and Rachel McAdams’ Allie, I just couldn’t see it. The characters seemed to me to be selfish and were driven to do some terrible things to other people because of their love for each other… and I didn’t like it. So when Cinema Sins released their searing critique of the movie’s missteps, I was a little excited. The movie is so universally loved that I was a little too eager to see someone pick it apart.
The video is predictably hilarious, poking fun at everything from editing and continuity mistakes (Did the fence at Noah’s house fix itself?) to timeline difficulties (How did they see a movie that hadn’t historically been released yet?) to the story itself (Why couldn’t she just be happy with James Marsden? “Because no one falls in love with James Marsden in movies and gets away with it.”). This last one was particularly great because Mr. Marsden has practically made a career out of playing the other man. He always gets dumped by his onscreen girlfriend for the likes of Superman (Superman Returns), Wolverine (The X-Men Trilogy), and even Patrick Dempsey (Enchanted). Finally, Cinema Sins takes particular delight in pointing out that the titular notebook is never actually mentioned directly in the film.
While the video is quite entertaining, I have to say that Cinema Sins tends to be much too harsh as a rule and completely foregoes any reasonable suspension of disbelief. I agree with most of their assessment – including adding Nicolas Sparks’ authorship of the original novel to its list of sins – but I think that Cinema Sins always focuses on nit-picking and misses the magic of the movies it targets. Of course, that is precisely what it is meant to do. But, while I largely agree that The Notebook is not an airtight movie plot-wise or even a movie that is believable emotionally, I do understand why some people love it so much. The story of a love that lasts forever, overcoming every obstacle in its way, is something that many people are drawn to. The core concept of the movie is a good one, but poor execution and too many clichés damage it, at least in my opinion. But romantic movies are largely a matter of taste. So, this Valentine’s Day, watch The Notebook or whatever other love-centric movie you enjoy. Because the heart of the matter is that we all love a good love story, and we all want a connection as strong as Allie and Noah’s.
So whether you watch the movie itself, or watch the Cinema Sins video and just enjoy a good laugh at its expense, have a Happy Valentine’s Day!