The Notebook, the unspoken story

The romance film industry is one that I have never understood. Their target demographic – women of all ages – spend most of their time, while watching said romance film, sobbing or angrily cursing at the main character that is screwing his or her whole life up. Yet, it somehow still manages to be very successful. For example, when The Notebook came out in 2006 it raked in over 100,000,000 dollars worldwide! And if someone is really itching to see a tear jerker as a stereotypical woman who gladly participates in the love hate relationship of a good romance movie I would highly recommend this film.

For those who have not seen The Notebook the story takes place in a retirement home. There a woman who is suffering from dementia can’t remember much of anything about who she is or what her life was like, but even more tragic she cannot remember her husband. Her name is Allie, and every day her husband, Noah, comes to retell their love story to her. Most days it doesn’t change anything, but sometimes after hearing her own love story her mind is able to come back for a few minutes. Never the less Noah tries every day and starts with when they met. Their story takes place in the 1940s. Noah and Allie met at a carnival one summer night and for Noah it was love at first sight, but not so much for her. She was a rich city girl with a good upbringing and he was a poor country boy with nothing, but after badgering her enough she gave in, and they fall in love. But just like in any good romance film they are forced apart because she must go off to college after the summer. At the end of the summer neither of them are sure if they will ever see each other again, and because of her parents distaste for Noah they hide the letters he sends her once they get back to New York. Eventually he stopped writing and Allie found a new love. His name was Lon and he was exactly what her parents want for her. He was rich and could give her the life that Noah could not. But after seeing a picture of Noah in the newspaper Allie decided to visit. Once they saw each other they both knew that there was no going back. Allie broke it off with Lon and married Noah. Though Allie could not remember that anymore Noah never stopped loving her since the day they saw each other at the carnival.

But if you haven’t seen this movie, don’t let my quick synopsis be all the exposure you get to this movie. It is truly one of the best films I have seen, and after watching it with some things such as visual rhetoric and visual literacy in mind I have an entirely new respect for it. The director, Nick Cassavetes, did an excellent job of using much more than just the script and actors to tell a story. I never knew why this movie was so good, but after learning about how camera angles and character attire can become a major part of the story, I have an answer. There are so many things that could be picked apart about this movie, but a major thing that stuck out to me was how through the use of clothing and color scheme the director showed how much Allie changed in her relationships. This clip is towards the end of the film, but it is the first time Allie said in words how different she has become.

(Sorry for the terrible quality and the fact that I only need the first minute. I guess that’s why this is called a draft.)

But I think that any viewer would know that Allie is different before that is ever actually said. When she and Noah began dating she wore warm colors like reds, yellows, and soft purples.


Image Image Image

There was a sense of freedom in the clothing. They weren’t too tight, they were light and flowing. At this point in the movie Allie was able to be her self in spite of what her parents wanted.

After waiting for the letters that she never received she changed. Allie moved on as mentioned before, but this relationship was different. When Allie was with Lon she wore cold colors and sharp lines. She had become an adult and through the use of different colors and cuts the costume director helped portray this. ImageImageImage

I, of course, being on Noah’s side took this to resemble the restrictions she felt when she was with Lon. The only time you see Allie wearing red around Lon is when she told that she was going to get away to the town where Noah was. 

The dress that Allie wore upon arriving at Noah’s house was mix of her old self and the person that she had become.


It wasn’t red, but it wasn’t a cold blue either and the cut of the dress is looser fitting. This is when they are reunited, and in my eyes the director and costume designer used this dress to show how Allie combined her two worlds and found that Noah was the perfect fit. 

One last thing I found interesting was the fact that in the opening scene when we first are introduced to a much older Noah and Allie, Allie is wearing red and yellow.



I like that choice for this scene because of what the different color schemes represented the whole movie. 

This film is an wonderful love story, and it has the good bone structure of the unspoken aspect of film supporting the main plot. Through the use of color schemes Cassavetes does an excellent job of reinforcing the beautiful story line. 


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4 Responses to The Notebook, the unspoken story

  1. Lydia Jaeger says:

    First off, I love your choice, one of my favorite movies also. Yet I completely agree with you, I watched it for the love not for how the clothing told its own story. I did notice Allie wearing more sophisticated clothes once she ‘matures’ and finds her new man; yet your analysis is great! One suggestion I have is to maybe add more details about a specific picture instead of grouping all five or so pictures together? I don’t exactly know if that would help, yet I feel it is more impacting when you describe a specific picture. Also, maybe think about the backgrounds. When Allie was with Lon they were in more high-class and sophisticated places, hence maybe the more formal clothing. This also to me shows the reflection of what her parents want and not her own personal style. The backgrounds with Noah are more laid-back and country style places. This may relate to the clothing overall, but it just also stands out to me. I like how you talk about when Allie and Noah reunite, but maybe show some more pictures of how Allie is trying to blend the two worlds together. Overall, I think you did a great job! Love the movie and love your work so far!

  2. vannahjwhite says:

    Good analyzing, you did a wonderful job in flowing the point of the story and what importance color and clothing had to the viewer. I’ve never seen “The Notebook” moreso because I don’t want to get depressed on what love does to one another, but I think with the ending you described I just may view it. I find it amazing that romances are so popular with women and girls, everyone wants to be loved, and women are always the soft sappy ones!! I like your background research on the directior and the teams choice of colors to convey a message of troublesome times or happyness. Alot of times, we unconsiously relate these things or perceptions to real lie, and when we see something, there’s a connection to that through physical or mental. Good job so far!!

  3. katiesherry says:

    I really like your analysis of, The Notebook, because you make a very concise and direct argument about the use of Allie’s clothing and the hidden meaning behind it. I noted when I was watching this movie for the first time, that yes, Allie’s character definitely does change in her appearance when she meets her fiance. I thought your color palette analysis was enlightening and I look forward to hearing more about it in class. I think you’ve got some great ideas, and would like you to share more examples in finer detail. Great job!

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