What Can We Learn From the Notebook?
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The lens through which we choose to view things shapes the ways that we think, act, and live. As I have gotten older, I have come to understand the real value of looking at things from multiple perspectives; because it helps me to see things differently, to think deeper, and to learn and grow in new ways. “Chick Flicks,” otherwise known as those “sappy movies” that are often filled with some sort of conflict resolved by romantic love, are a movie genre that people either love or hate. But what people, even those who love these movies do not often come to see or understand, is that when we look past just the romance part of the plots within these movies, there is so much more to learn about life. It just depends on how we choose to see it.          

The Notebook is a movie directed by Nick Cassavetes that is based off of a novel written by Nicholas Sparks. This movie chronicles the 1940 fictional love story of South Carolina mill worker Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling), and wealthy city girl Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams); as told by elderly Noah Calhoun who is reading details about their love story from Allie’s diary (notebook). I do not want to bore any of you readers with an in depth summary of this movie, but I do have to say that this movie is so much more than a simple love story. It shows the love of a guarded mother, that for a while gets misperceived as genuine malice and selfishness, but is later understood as love and protection. It shows the effects that money has on all types of relationships, how Alzheimer’s Disease affects loved ones, and how the “good guy” (in this case, Allie’s fiancé Lon), does not always get what he wants, but can handle that with grace and a willingness to move on and move forward. There are hundreds of lessons entwined in just this one movie, it all just depends on how the viewer decides to look at it.

As I was talking with a friend who is not a fan of this movie or the romantic movie genre as a whole, I came to realize that we both looked at this movie so differently. I saw a love story filled with lessons about the realities of life and the true value of love in the midst of struggles; and my friend saw a dramatic love story with no purpose other than to entertain. I would not say that either perspective is wrong, we just saw different things while watching the same movie.

Movies are such a unique form of art in the sense that they have the opportunity to share multiple hidden messages throughout the plot line. Movies have the ability to tell many stories within the one plot line, and as a result many meaningful lessons can be learned if we choose to open our eyes to all that the writers and actors are telling us. So instead of getting so caught up in the genre and surface level first impressions of certain types of movies, there is so much more value that can be added to movies when we stop looking at them as a simple form of entertainment; and start seeing them for the intricate and complex pieces of art that they are.