It’s not often I ever bow to peer pressure, as that’s just not how I roll in this life of mine, and even less so when it’s about seeing a movie, as I tend to watch anything anyway, so people trying to talk me into watching something would be a fairly easy task. Though there are some films that no amount of coaxing will get me to watch, like The Human Centipede, and other non life affirming shit like that.
Though one film that I got a bit of pressure to watch recently was The Notebook, and seeing as it was one I had been meaning to see for a while anyway, I thought bending to this pressure was ok, if only for this one time. I also knew going into the film it was seen as the uber chick flick, but I’m comfortable enough in my own sexuality and manliness to watch something like that, and it didn’t hurt that I’m a fan of both Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams from other films.
Right off the bat I felt the film was a little clunky at the beginning, in both the directing and storytelling. Now, this is based off a book, and often movies find it hard to translate story elements smoothly, as they can play out seamlessly as written words on a page, but often don’t translate well to on-screen narrative storytelling. This messy feeling didn’t last for too long, and only showed its head a few more times throughout, so I’ll just put that down to a difficult adaption process.
The next thing that stuck out to me, and I admit this might be the fact this film had a lot of hype around it so I could be skewed either more positively or negatively because of that, was that the story felt like it wasn’t being told in a way that was natural for the characters. It even felt unnatural for the reality of the world that was created, and because of this it made me feel like it was telling the story the best way it could to purposely manipulate the audience into feeling certain things.
Some might say it’s romance by the numbers, kind of like those dirty adult fiction books you’ll find in the corner of your local book shop do, the ones that pretty much retell the same dozen stories over and over, but in slightly different variations, but still titillate a large female audience regardless of the exact same content, which is why they really are porn for women. Well, that’s what I felt The Notebook was often doing through the film, as it purposefully played directly to the heart strings, and dear I say weaknesses, of the feminine psyche.
Though I’m full aware that this film wasn’t made for me, and even though I’m a pretty open guy when it comes to touchy-feely movie subject matter, and even the soppy side of real life, I know this film went to a whole other level passed that, and so I appreciate that many women would still love this film even if they knew openly how it was manipulating them. But still, I must admit, I did get misty eyed at the end, but not a tear was shed. But to all the ladies out there, I suggest seeing The Cider House Rules for a better filmic love story or Amour for an even more touching and heart breaking story of deep, and I mean deep, love.
6.5 out of 10 from me!!!