Were you happy when she chose Noah? The New York Times writes that the performances from Ryan Gosling (as Noah) and Rachel McAdams (as Allie) in The Notebook are “so spontaneous and combustible” that it’s impossible not to root for them.
There’s no denying it. The Notebook‘s Hollywood happily-ever-after easy to gush about. Here are the CliffsNotes: Poor (oh-so-handsome) country boy comes back from to war, steals former lover — a rich (beautiful), city girl — away from her well-off fiancé (Lon), they end up together, shock Allie’s conservative relatives, the audience swoons, the movie, per Time, grosses 116 million, and becomes the love story that we grow up wanting for ourselves.
Except, Allie and Noah’s relationship is literally what domestic abuse centers ring alarm bells over. We’re not saying that Rachel should have chosen Lon. Maybe, despite being rich, charming, and respectful of Rachel’s boundaries, Lon wasn’t the love of her life. We’re saying that there’s something seriously wrong with Noah.
When Vogue writer Emma Specter rewatched it, she was startled by Noah’s “weirdly vacant” eyes. What’s with that time that Noah used a widow (Martha) for empty sex, heartlessly leading her on, even though she clearly wanted more? she demanded. Screen Rant picked up on it, too, pointing to Noah’s “habit” of “explaining things to Allie, usually things that have to do with herself and who she is and how she lives her life.” Yes, that’s called mansplaining. But isn’t just that Noah is a slightly misogynistic jerk.
Are The Notebook's Allie and Noah in a toxic relationship?
First, there’s the fact that when he finds out that Allie has a fiancé, Noah goes binge drinking… for 10 days. Since when is alcohol abuse sexy? And who, really, aspires to a relationship with constant fighting? Remember when Allie almost leaves Noah? “Stay with you?” she says. “What for? Look at us, we’re already fighting.” To which Noah responds, “Well that’s what we do. We fight.” As mind-boggling as it is, she stays.
Or what about the fact, as USA Today points out, that Noah seems to get off on insulting Allie. At one point, he plays off Allie’s insecurities to the point that she literally risks her life by lying down in the middle of the street. Because it’s Hollywood, a car didn’t run over her. Real life may well have been different.
The nail in The Notebook‘s proverbial coffin comes at the beginning, when Noah hangs off of a Ferris wheel, threatening to jump if Allie doesn’t go out with him. The New York Times watched the scene and pointed out that Noah was exhibiting a “slightly creepy streak of fanaticism.” It goes beyond just that. Because, since when was threatening possible suicide to manipulate someone into a relationship with you romantic? We’ll pass the mic to Break The Silence Against Domestic Violence, who will gladly tell you that in intimate relationships, suicide threats are a form of emotional abuse used to control.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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