The Notebook Ending Explained & Plot Analysis

They lived happily ever after and died on the same day: the essence of the film The Notebook (2004): plot summary, film description, real story, similar movies.

Country: USA

Genre: drama, melodrama, film adaptation

Year of production: 2004

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Actors: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner

Slogan: “Behind every great love there is a great story”

The content of the film “The Notebook” does not fully correspond to the original source – the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. However, deviations from the plot did not affect the meaning of the work: like the book, this picture talks about love, hope and faith in a dream.

What is the movie about

Brief description of the contents of the picture. The plot of the film begins with the fact that an elderly man comes to the hospital to see an elderly woman suffering from senile dementia. He wants to read some book to her, but the old lady is not in the mood: she does not want to listen to anything, and in general, according to her, she does not know the visitor.

Ryan Gosling of the film The Notebook
Ryan Gosling played the role of Noah Calhoun, and Rachel McAdams played the role of Ellie Hamilton. Still from the film The Notebook

However, the nurse gently convinces her not to drive away the visitor: who knows, maybe she will like the plot of the book and its meaning?.. The old woman agrees, and the visitor begins to read. He tells her the story of a boy and a girl, a simple worker Noah and an aristocrat Ellie.

One summer evening, a charming young man saw Ellie in an amusement park and fell in love with her at first sight. Without paying any attention to the girl’s companion, he decisively invites her to go on a date with him, but she no less decisively refuses him. After this, Ellie and her boyfriend decide to ride the Ferris wheel. Noah comes up with a completely crazy idea: he jumps into Ellie’s booth while walking. A park employee notices this. Having stopped the wheel, he demands that Noah come down – it is dangerous for three of them to be in the booth. The young man readily climbs out of the cabin and hangs at a great height. Looking slyly at Ellie, he asks her out again. The girl refuses, after which he blackmails her: either she goes on a date with him, or he jumps. Shocked, Ellie eventually agrees.

She actually comes to the meeting and this is how their friendship begins. Gradually the girl falls in love with Noah, and they spend a wonderful summer together. One day, a young man takes Ellie to a large abandoned house and tells her about his dream – he really wants to buy and restore it. The girl playfully remarks that in this case he should fulfill her wish: let the house be completely white and the blinds on the windows blue. There would also be a large porch and a room overlooking the creek where she would paint.

Soon the guys realize that they are connected by deep and strong feelings. Noah introduces Ellie to his parents, and she easily charms both of them. But her father and mother are horrified by their daughter’s choice. According to their interpretation, they cannot have any future together, because Noah is a simple hard worker, and “blue blood” flows in her veins. Indignant Ellie quarrels with her parents, and then Noah falls under the hot hand, who understands that childishness is over and the time has come to make serious decisions…

The next day, Ellie, regretting the “debriefing” she arranged, comes to her lover’s work: she is leaving and she really wants to see him one last time. But the guy is nowhere to be found and she only manages to meet his friend. She asks him to tell Noah that she loves him very much, and then leaves. The young man is having a hard time with the separation and writes letters to Ellie. However, the correspondence does not reach her, because her mother receives all the letters…

Soon World War II begins and Noah volunteers to go to the front. Ellie also does not stand aside and gets a job at a hospital for the military. There she meets the wounded pilot Lon. After being discharged from the hospital, the young man begins to care for Ellie and soon proposes to her. To the delight of her parents (Lon comes from a wealthy family), the girl agrees to marry him: Noah, her first great love, remains a ghostly past for her…

One day, Noah, returning from the front, sees Ellie in the company of Lon – they smile at each other and look absolutely happy. Shocked, he nevertheless does not lose heart and sets about restoring the old house. After finishing the renovation, he takes photos next to the house and then puts it up for sale. However, no matter how much money potential clients offer him, he refuses the deal.

On the eve of the wedding, Ellie receives a newspaper with an advertisement. Seeing Noah in the photo, the girl becomes very confused. Having calmed down, she decides to meet him and dot the i’s. They meet like old friends, and then Noah invites her on a boat ride.

newspaper before the wedding of the film The Notebook
Still from the film The Notebook

It begins to rain heavily, and the girl bitterly reproaches her friend: why didn’t he write to her? He says that he wrote to her every day, after which he kisses her passionately. They spend the night together, and in the morning Ellie’s mother arrives at the “dream house”. Inviting her daughter to take a ride, she shows her the worker and says that in her youth she loved him very much, but was forced to marry someone who her parents liked.

After admitting that she stole Noah’s letters, the mother finally gives them to Ellie. The woman does not demand anything and does not insist that her daughter return to the groom – she must make her choice herself. The girl is sure that she should marry Lon, and Noah bitterly reproaches her: Ellie does not make a choice from the heart – she is simply afraid of poverty.

The girl still leaves. However, Lon acts nobly and lets her go. Ellie chooses Noah, marries him and bears him three children. Unfortunately, she is gradually developing dementia. Realizing that she will soon forget everything, Ellie writes down her story with Noah.

This is where the long flashback ends, and we see the elderly people again. It turns out that these are the aged Noah and Ellie – he once again came to read her the story of their love. The answer to the fact that she greeted him so coldly at the very beginning is that due to her aggressively progressing illness, she constantly forgets both him and what he read to her about…

The Notebook Ending explained

Explanation of the ending of the picture. In the finale, Ellie’s mind clears up and she remembers her husband again, but then she suddenly becomes worse and is taken away by the orderlies. Late in the evening, Noah comes to her room and lies down next to her. Ellie finally finally remembers him, after which they hold hands and close their eyes forever.

The message of the ending of The Notebook is that Noah and Ellie’s love has survived everything. Just like in a fairy tale, they died on the same day…

Real story

The book by Nicholas Sparks, published in 1996, is based on real events. According to the writer, he was inspired to create the novel by the story of his wife’s grandparents – they met as teenagers and lived together for 60 years.

The meaning of the film The Notebook

Sparks’ book cannot be called a masterpiece with a hidden meaning – it is simply a kind, warm and very touching love story. The film is the same.

And in fact, if you look at this story critically, you can call it simple and even banal. It’s simple: there is a girl and two handsome young men who love her. She must make a choice between love and position in society. After thinking carefully, she chooses love. This, perhaps, is the essence of the film. However, it still shouldn’t be called an ordinary melodrama, because it examines many aspects of human relationships and brings up important issues for discussion.

According to some, Noah and Ellie’s relationship cannot be called ideal. Many see him as a manipulator and even an abuser – one only has to remember how their acquaintance began. Noah is truly an extremely impulsive person – he lives for the moment and his “wants”. Initially, it is his rebellion that attracts the “good girl Ellie,” who opens up next to him and receives unprecedented emotions.

James Marsden of the film The Notebook
The role of Lon was played by James Marsden. Still from the film The Notebook

Their romance is like a roller coaster – they quarrel violently, passionately make up, and the realization that they most likely will not be together only intensifies their feelings. What is this – an ordinary summer romance that will soon be forgotten, or something else, deeper and stronger?..

As it turned out, the second one. Their love stood the test of time, and in old age they both calmed down and found peace next to each other. There is no doubt that Ellie made the right choice: Lon was a good, honest person, but she loved Noah, and “where the heart speaks, the mind should not object.”

The film “The Notebook” is saturated with summer, passion and youth. However, it is also a very nostalgic film – an old people’s film reminiscing about a time gone by when the trees were taller and the grass was greener. The guys had their youth, they lived their love and dream of a house in which they would raise children together. Years later, Noah turned out to be true to his dream and, having realized it, he found happiness. For many years they were together “in sorrow, in joy, in sickness and in health…” Even when the terrible illness began to take its toll, Noah lived quietly next to the one who was everything to him.

Before closing her eyes forever, Ellie opens them wide to once again see in her mind’s eye that crazy young summer that gave her the most dear person in the world. And it’s very touching, actually…

The picture could be called sad if it were not saturated with warm light. Still, it’s a very big deal to make at least someone happy. After all, if each of us can do this, everyone in this world will be happy.

Gena Rowlands and James Garner of the film The Notebook
Gena Rowlands and James Garner played the roles of Allie Calhoun and Duke. Still from the film The Notebook

Similar films

Here are several films similar in meaning to the film The Notebook:

  • A Walk to Remember (USA, 2002). Handsome and cocky, Landon is the most popular guy in school. One day he meets sweet and quiet Jamie and falls in love with her. But the girl is mortally ill…
  • Titanic (USA, Mexico, 1997). A poor young man and a rich girl meet on a liner believed to be unsinkable.
  • P.S. I Love You (USA, 2007). A man, knowing about his imminent death, leaves his wife several messages that should help her survive the loss.
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (USA, 2008). The film tells about the fate of an unusual man who was born an old man, and then began to rapidly grow younger.
  • Dear John (USA, 2010). John and Savannah love each other. What prevents them from getting married is the war the guy is going to fight. Only letters from his beloved help him not to go crazy in the never-ending hell.
  • The Vow (USA, Australia, France, Canada, Germany, Brazil, UK, China, 2012). Newlyweds Paige and Leo get into an accident. Coming out of a coma, the girl does not recognize her husband and then he decides to win her heart again.
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