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Behind The Notebook
Released in 2004, the film was adapted from the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same title. It was actually the very first book the Sparks published! The plot, set in 1940, centred around the lifelong love story of Noah and Allie, two young lovers whose relationship faced a lot of obstacles. Even from the very beginning, the odds were against them. Allie was a rich heiress and Noah was just a lumber mill worker, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing her relentlessly.
Maybe The Notebook resonates so much with audiences because it’s so deeply rooted in a feeling of young, us-against-the-world type of love. It was that type of love that made Noah hang off a Ferris wheel, write a letter every day for a year, build a house with his bare hands, and visit her bedside every night. It was the kind of love that viewers craved in their own lives.
Surprisingly enough, despite its cult-like fame now, The Notebook actually received mixed reviews upon release. Some critics found it to be a little too clumsily sentimental, and some even found the character of Noah to be slightly manipulative!
But in our opinion, The Notebook remains one of the best romantic films to watch for any date night. But for those of you who want more, we’ve put together a list of films like The Notebook.
Top 8 Movies Like The Notebook
8. The Longest Ride (2015)
“I don't know what the future holds but I know there is no future without you.”
The Longest Ride is another Nicholas Sparks book turned romance film. It tells the story of star-crossed lovers Luke (Scott Eastwood) and Sophia (Britt Robertson). Their relationship was put to the test when Luke sees the vast difference between them: Luke is a bull rider and Sophia is just about to get an art career in New York.
Their relationship is on the rocks when they meet the 91-year-old Ira (Alan Alda). They find out that Ira has also gone through the same troubles with his late wife Ruth and discover that their stories actually interweave. The Longest Ride is one of our favourite movies similar to The Notebook because it offers not just one, but two stories about enduring love.
7. The Last Song (2010)
“Are you really going to say goodbye? Because I really don’t want to hear it.”
The Last Song is another story by Nicholas Sparks. It tells the story of piano prodigy Ronnie Miller (Miley Cyrus) who was left by her teacher and father Steve Miller (Greg Kinnear) at a young age. After being sent to live with him for the summer, the rebellious Ronnie meets Will (Liam Hemsworth) and they both fall in love.
But as they find out more about each other, Ronnie discovers some secrets about her dad, which affects her relationship with both her father and Will. For those who wish there was more family drama in The Notebook, perhaps The Last Song will scratch that itch.
6. Safe Haven (2013)
“Promise me something Katie – you'll take a lot of pictures and only regret the ones that you didn't take.”
If you think that romance and thrillers don’t mix, Safe Haven will prove you wrong. It is a romantic drama fantasy thriller about the story of Katie Feldman (Julianne Hough). After moving to North Carolina to turn over a new leaf, Katie takes a job as a waitress and keeps a low profile. As she slowly gets accepted by her new community, she takes a special liking to widower Alex (Josh Duhamel). However, while she learns to love and trust once again, a mysterious person arrives and slowly unearths the unwanted mysteries of Katie’s past.
5. An Affair To Remember (1957)
“Oh, it was nobody's fault but my own. I was looking up. It was the nearest thing to heaven. You were there.”
The remake of Leo McCarey’s 1939 film Love Affair, An Affair to Remember is a story about Nickie (Cary Grant) and Terry (Deborah Kerr). The two fell in love when they met on a cruise – but the catch is, they’re both still involved with other people. Because the heart wants what the heart wants, Nickie and Terry made a pact to meet on top of the Empire State Building after six months. An Affair to Remember is a great mix of love, passion, and tragedy that is sure to pull on a lot of heartstrings.
4. Me Before You (2016)
"Live boldly. Push yourself. Don't settle."
Twenty-six-year-old Louisa (Emilia Clarke) becomes the caregiver of the wealthy but paralysed Will Traynor (Sam Claflin). Because of their opposing ideals – Louisa’s ever so positive yet defeatist outlook versus Will’s dismissive cynicism – the two mix like oil and water. But as Louisa shows Will how life can be worth living, his outlook in life slowly changes and their fondness towards each grows. Me Before You offers something much more than a love story – it’s also a tale of deep friendship.
3. La La Land (2016)
“I’m always gonna love you.”
If you loved The Notebook because of Ryan Gosling’s charm, then this next film just might be right for you. Right after director Damien Chazelle’s gritty hit debut film, Whiplash, moviegoers were surprised that his sophomore pitch was musical rom-com, La La Land. The fun yet bittersweet film tells the love story between two struggling artists in LA; Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling).
The two connect at very early stages in each other’s careers, and as their romance blooms, they eventually help each other on the path to each of their dreams.
La La Land offers a new take on the classic question of “what should I pursue: my love or my dreams?”
The film went on to win six out of its 14 nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, together with the historical flub of having won Best Picture for about two minutes – right before it was revealed that the announcer had read the wrong envelope!
2. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
"You make a million decisions that mean nothing, and then one day, you order take-out, and it changes your life."
People who think the Empire State Building is one of the romantic places on earth shouldn’t miss out on Sleepless in Seattle. The movie follows Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) who is in the midst of rebuilding his life after recently losing his wife to cancer.
Sam was eventually forced by his best friend to talk about how much he misses his deceased wife on a radio show. Serendipitously, one of the listeners is Annie Reed (Meg Ryan), a woman in an unfulfilling engagement. After watching An Affair to Remember, she decides to write a letter to Sam, telling him to meet him on top of the Empire State Building on Valentines’ Day.
This is one of those classic love stories that’s just filled to the brim with intense passion and old school lovey-dovey goodness.
Sleepless in Seattle is number 45 in the American Film Institute’s 100 greatest love stories of all time.
1. A Walk To Remember (2002)
“Love is like the wind. You can’t see it, but you can feel it.”
If you thought The Notebook was giving your tear ducts a workout, don’t pack up the tissues just yet. Another hit based off a Nicholas Sparks novel, A Walk To Remember follows the story of high school students Jamie (Mandy Moore) and Landon (Shane West).
Landon is a popular yet rebellious boy and Jamie is the minister’s daughter. In a fateful turn of events, the two are made to spend more time with each other. While the young romance blooms, a heart-wrenching twist is revealed that will forever be in the hearts and minds of romantic film buffs.
A lot of today’s romantic films adopt a Nicholas Sparks formula, which often proves to be successful. But on the off-chance that you’re looking for something different:
- Dear John is a good pick. While also by Sparks, the war setting offers a completely different thematic experience than The Notebook.
- The Best of Me is also another option for those who want something new. It deals with nostalgia, loss, and how love can last for decades even if you are no longer in touch with each other.
- And of course, it probably goes without saying that the classic Casablanca is the holy grail of love stories. Rick and Ilsa’s wartime love story has arguably paved the way for hundreds of romance films in the decades to come.
Whether you consider yourself a romantic or not, there’s at least one good love story that resonates with you. And that’s what The Notebook is for so many people – a great love story that inspires them to keep searching, daring, and trying for once-in-a-lifetime relationships. Or, at the very least, have a really long overdue cry session with a box of chocolates and ice cream!