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The Messed Up Part Of The Notebook That Fans Are Happy To Ignore

The romantic drama "The Notebook," directed by Nick Cassavetes and based on the popular novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks, came out in 2004 and became an instant hit. It made over $117.8 million at the box office, according to Box Office Mojo, and led to a few award wins — most notably, stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams (who were dating in real life at the time) winning best kiss at the MTV movie awards, where they recreated their iconic film kiss on stage. Over the years, the film itself has become something of an icon.

If you are somehow unfamiliar with the plot, "The Notebook" follows the love story of Allie Hamilton (McAdams) and Noah Calhoun (Gosling), who meet as teenagers in 1940s South Carolina and fall madly in love, despite Allie's wealthy parents disapproving. After a tumultuous but passionate summer, Allie must leave town with her parents; Noah writes to her every day, but her mother hides the letters, making Allie think Noah has abandoned her. Years later, the two reunite — but Allie is engaged to another man.

It was a breakout role for McAdams and Gosling, who contributed to the film's many iconic moments — such as the memorable kiss in the rain when Allie finds out that Noah had been writing to her all that time. Of course, few movies are without their flaws, and when it comes to "The Notebook," there is a pretty glaring and messed-up aspect to the film that some fans are happy to ignore.

Allie and Noah have a toxic romance

Despite Allie and Noah easily being one of the most well-known movie couples ever, their relationship is far from perfect —they can easily be considered one of the most toxic couples in movie history. To begin with, their relationship starts with Allie saying no to Noah when he asks her out. As a response, Noah jumps onto the Ferris wheel and hangs off, saying he'll let go if Allie doesn't agree to go out with him; reluctantly, she agrees. Noah persists when she tries to say no later, and his friends help trick Allie into a date.

Allie then begins reciprocating Noah's feelings, but the toxicity doesn't end. The two get into constant fights, many of which we see turn violent before they passionately make up. During a compilation of arguments between the pair, the narrator states, "They fought all the time and challenged each other every day. But despite their differences, they had one important thing in common: They were crazy about each other." Considering in one scene, Allie pushes and slaps Noah, describing their relationship as "challenging each other" doesn't quite match what it is: Violent and toxic. 

All of these issues have been discussed by moviegoers from time to time on Reddit, so viewers have noticed the toxic nature of the film's central romance even though the film has maintained its title as one of the most romantic films out there.

Some of the problems stem from the book, others don't

As mentioned above, "The Notebook" is based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks, which was published in 1996 — which just so happens to be where the problematic elements stem from. In May of 2018, writer Sadie Trombetta detailed for Bustle her experience seeking out the book after loving the film when she was a teenager, only to find out that the character of Noah exhibits creepy behavior throughout the plot.

While using the example of Noah's persistent letter-writing and buying a house without asking her (and when they're not even together), two things that happen in both the film and the book, Trombetta wrote, "Again, at first glance, these emotional acts seem sweet, thoughtful, and deeply romantic, but at their core is an unhealthy and unwanted obsession from Noah directed at Allie ... In other words, he was harassing her and forcing his presence into her life without her permission." Further, Trombetta says that, regardless of outside interference, Noah has an unhealthy obsession with a girl he dated for a summer when a teen.

Alternatively, Trombetta also revealed that the book has strengths that the film lacks. Namely, Noah doesn't pull the manipulative Ferris wheel stunt to get Allie to go out with him; instead, she wants to. Further, there are no violent fights, but rather the focus is on the maturity of their relationship, with the two even breaking up amicably. Trombetta wrote, "[The film] says to the viewer, like so many other toxic on-screen or in-book relationships do, that strong love, true love, is born out of conflict."

Relationship experts are also not a fan of Allie and Noah's relationship

In February of 2017, Time Out spoke to relationship experts about the best and worst depictions of romance on screen, which naturally brought up "The Notebook" — although the film didn't fall into the positive category. "The Notebook" was listed among the romantic movies that experts hate, alongside "Dirty Dancing," "Notting Hill," "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Grease" and "The Lobster." (However, experts like films such as "La La Land" and "Bridget Jones's Diary"). Outside of the problematic aspects of the behavior of both characters, relationship expert Gurpreet Singh, a counselor and psychotherapist, says that the film also sets unrealistic standards.

Singh said, "Noah restores a house for Allie. He writes letter after letter waiting for her. They die holding hands. Talk about idealized love! If you believe in it, you start to think: I shouldn't settle for less."

However, most relationships in real life won't play out in such romanticized terms. Singh continued, "But most average couples are nothing like that. We are humans; we are fallible. Love is imperfect because we are.'"

After taking in all the information, one may think that Allie was better off with Lon.