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Movie Club: The Notebook, Directed by Nick Cassavetes

By Margaret Manning March 15, 2014 Mindset

The Notebook” may only be a decade old, but, it is already a classic. In fact, it is so well loved that the Sixty and Me community voted it as their favourite movie of all time.

On one level, this is a movie about the power of love. It also feels so real that you can’t help but get involved with the deep complexity of the characters in the movie as they experience the heartbreak of loss.

The film is based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks and shows us the same couple at two times in their lives. We see them first when they meet and fall in love. Then, we see them as old people. She is suffering from Alzheimer’s and he is still loyal and passionately in love with her.

The young lovers are Allie and Noah, played by Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. As old people they’re played by Gena Rowlands and James Garner. The performances are spectacular. Since the director Nick Cassavetes is the son of Gena Rowlands, her on screen performance is also quite personal.

The movie tells a bit of a fantasy about what suffering with Alzheimer’s is like. But if you consider recent discoveries about the power of nostalgia, as I discussed in my interview with Dr.Medina, there is hope. Nostalgia, like reading from the notebook, may just have a power to rejuvenate the brain and just may make these scenes possible.

I chose this movie for the community, even though a lot of women may have already seen it. Many women are looking after family members with Alzheimer’s and it is on the minds of a lot of us as we age. If you have seen the movie before, perhaps watching it again with a different lens might make it come to life in a more immediate way.

If you don’t already have a copy of “The Notebook,” you can get it on Amazon.

To kick things off, here are a few questions for discussion. Please add your thoughts in the comments:

Why do you think that this movie so popular? Was it realistic enough for you?

How did you feel about the ending?

What would you change about the movie?

How did the movie differ from the novel? Did the director do a good job of bringing the book to life?

Allie claims to be in love with both Noah and Lon. Do you think it is possible to be in love with two people at the same time?

Do you think that encouraging nostalgia and reminding someone with Alzheimer’s about their past will help?

Noah says “The first time you fall in love it changes your life forever.” Can you remember your first love?

I hope that you enjoy this book! Please share your thoughts below.

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Phyllis Houghton

Hi Margaret
Loved your write up about Notebook. It is an experience in itself to connect with the film or book, because that’s what happens when one decides to make that choice.
I have watched the movie so many times (box of tissues in hand) also own the movie.
In fact I started buying all Nicholas Sparks books after watching Notebook. He is the most incredible author, sincere, emotional, full of expressions. He draws you into the story or movie, that you are actually living it ,you are a part of it. Of course the movies are better as one sees the actor’s and understands the emotions that they express.
With the Notebook it helps you understand the effects of Alzheimer’s. How it effects family, what one can do to help if anything, most of all what precautions can one take to avoid getting it. The disease alone is a heart breaker to watch something so debilitating in people you have loved, lived, and laughed with for many years. I’m sure most of us have lost friends and family to Alzheimer’s.
Oh yes, I think the director did a wonderful job of expressing the book and I think
Nicholas Sparks wouldn’t have it any other way. So realistic, and as for the ending …
Beautifull ! (one has to watch or read to find out !)

Do I think encouraging nostalgia should be attempted? No.
That’s what we want to do isn’t it, push photos in front of them,’ look this is you !”
That is not what they want, they are in their own little world, they are safe. My experience
of that is they get angry, frightened, upset.
Of course I am no doctor or medical person, it is from observation of life, experience’s.
People are different, respond differently .

I hope your readers will watch or read Notebook and enjoy it as much as I did.
Nicholas Sparks has several books that have been made into films that’s how great an author he is.


The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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