The Notebook

Relationships are hard, aren’t they? I should clarify. I’ve never been in one but I’ve had plenty of crushes on guys and more friendships then I can count. Not always good ones, but I have had them and I have a family. So I can’t imagine how hard a full-on relationship can be. It makes me wonder why we put so much pressure on each other to have a perfect relationship, and why it is that movie characters act like they do? Today, I want to talk about the movie, the Notebook, and, what I think, are the two biggest problems with Noah and Ally’s relationship. For those of you who haven’t seen the Notebook, you can take a look at the trailer here.

First, the way Ally and Noah meet is just a bit creepy. To summarize, Ally is on the Ferris wheel with another boy, Noah jumps onto the seat with them and asks her on a date. When she says no he jumps to one of the bars and hangs off of it. They are maybe hundreds of feet above the ground when he threatens to let go if she doesn’t go out on a date with him. Now, if this happened in the real world we would not think it was romantic. In fact, some of us may be repelled by this type of behavior. After all who thinks it is romantic for someone to threaten suicide? But in the movie, this works for him and they go out on a date. Now in Ally’s defense, she was not won over by this. She merely said yes to keep him alive and my problem is not with her answer but with the actions themselves. In a healthy, even godly relationship the interested party should not have to threaten their own lives, thereby manipulating the other person, in order to get a date. From what counseling and social work have taught me that is way more common in abusive relationships than in healthy ones. So why do millions of teenagers think this is romantic?

Second, neither Noah nor Ally actually know what they want to do in life. Now, this may not matter for all relationships, but it stood out to me. Perhaps, I’m a little old-fashioned but I wanted to talk about it either way. See, I want to date a small number of guys, if not only one guy, and I want them to share similar goals in life. I don’t want to waste my time chasing after guys who are going in a completely different direction. Not only that but if there is one thing I have learned about dating it is that a person who doesn’t know what they want is dangerous for a healthy relationship. So for both Noah and Ally to be so unaware seems incredibly detrimental to their future and themselves. For example, if you were in a car that drove itself and you had a meeting to get to you would want the car to take you there. But if the car did whatever it wanted say took you fifteen miles in the opposite direction, you would be a little concerned, maybe even in trouble. Similarly, if a person gets into a relationship with no boundaries, plans or destination it can be easy for the people involved to end up confused. 

Finally, Ally treats her relationship with Lon rather cheaply. Throughout her scenes, with him, she acts and claims that she loves Lon. However, as soon as she sees Noah’s picture in the paper she knows that she’s going to visit him. Of course, she may not have predicted that she was going to sleep with him and end her engagement with Lon but she must have known that it wasn’t healthy to go see Noah. At least not until they had dealt with their past. This was evident to me in my own life, although on a different scale. Some of you know about Daniel, the boy I almost dated three years ago. With us, things ended abruptly and I never knew why. Then recently I reached out to him, apologizing for cutting him off and he surprised me by admitting he had cut things off first. Since then I haven’t worried about it because I was able to talk about the relationship. But if I had had a chance to see him before our conversation, maybe I would have fallen for him again. Of course, it’s not exactly the same and I’m not engaged to another man but I feel as though this should have occurred to Ally. I feel as though a warning sign should have gone up somewhere in her field of vision and yet it didn’t. This issue is only emphasized when she breaks off her engagement with Lon. Although it is clear that she is in pain it seems more like discomfort with the task at hand than anything else. Soon after we Lon clearly hurt and uncomfortable with the position she’s put him in however, she doesn’t seem to recognize that at all. This allowed me to end the movie grateful on Lon’s part that he got away from her because in any healthy relationship you have to recognize when you hurt those around you and, as far as I could tell, Ally wasn’t able to. 

The Notebook, as far as I know, is the most popular romantic film in pop culture today. In conversations about romance movies it always comes up and in fact, IMDb rated it number one in their “Top 100 Romantic Movies” list. But as far as I’m concerned it belongs closer to the bottom. I am a woman who tries, and often fails, to live by Philippians 4:8-9 which says,

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy –think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” NIV

The Notebook, I believe, is the opposite of that. Noah is wrong and deplorable to joke about suicide, even if that is not how he intended to come across. Ally, and really Noah as well, are dishonorable for knowingly cheating on Lon and for being so flimsy with Lon’s emotions and pain. For this reason, I cannot knowingly enjoy or recommend this movie because it is so unrealistic, unhealthy and dishonorable. I said earlier that relationships are hard and they are. However, from everything I have learned, read and heard they are even harder when you give yourself and the other person no loyalty, boundaries, or respect. So if you are looking for a good movie to watch with your girl friends or your guy friends might I recommend something other than this movie. Perhaps, A Walk to Remember or Wonder Woman. The relationships in those are a bit more substantial and wholesome, which I think you will like much more. But if I’m wrong let me know. I love to learn. 🙂 Have a great rest of your Monday and I’ll talk to you tomorrow!

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