The Notebook Film Elements

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Lauren Taibi
First Paper Assignment
The Notebook

The movie The Notebook, directed by Nick Cassavetes and released on June 5th 2004, is a captivating love story, which takes place in the 1940’s. Through filmatic elements such as Cassavetes choices of cinematography, editing, narrative, mise en scene, sound and music, he creates an extremely believable story of two teenagers in the 1940’s who fell in love over the time span of one summer.

In order to create a 1940’s vibe, Cassavetes wisely uses a specific choice of costumes, makeup and scenery to portray exactly the time period he wanted to. The main character Allie, played by Rachel McAdams, is a free-spirited 17 year old who in the beginning of the movie is seen wearing a variety of long 1940’s dresses, with patterns and specific styles commonly worn during that time period. The other main character, Noah, played by Ryan Gosling, is a teenage boy who because of his low social class, is constantly seen wearing a causal pear of slacks, worn out button down shirts, and suspenders with slicked back hair. A scene when Allie and Noah are swimming in a lake is a prime example of how the costumes contribute towards the time period. Instead of wearing modern day bikinis or swim trunks, Allie is wearing high wasted bathing suit bottoms, which covered her entire stomach and almost looked like shorts; a style of bathing suits worn by girls in the 1940’s. The makeup Allie wears in this movie as she grows up is also very old fashioned. Her excessive amounts of blush, the simple eye makeup and deep red lipstick are identical to that of a woman who lived in the 1940s. Extras and other characters that also take part in this movie, wear 1940’s attire as well. Because of this, the overall feeling of this movie is old fashioned, and a time when everything was much simpler. Not only does the specific attire of the main characters help portray a true feeling of the 1940’s, yet it is a key contributor to the love story as well. What makes this love story so captivating and unforgettable is the struggle that Allie and Noah must go through to finally be happy together. One of these obstacles includes their obvious disparity in social status constantly reminded to them by Allie’s stuck up and self absorbed parents. Allie is always dressed beautifully with dresses that the rich wore, while Noah is always seen in old, ill-fitting clothes that help the audience understand the huge difference in the way these two teenagers live. Yet, costumes and makeup are not the only thing that Cassavetes uses to create a 1940’s vibe. Scenery also plays a large part in doing so as well. Everything about the scenery used screams 1940s. This scenery includes the old fashioned cars in the street, the sock-hop that Allie attends which was a popular gathering that often occurred during the 1940’s and Allie’s job as a nurse tending to injured soldiers from World War II. All of these elements combined including scenery, makeup and costumes, successfully creates an undeniable 1940’s vibe. The music used in this movie also allows the audience to be captivated by the 1940’s. In the very beginning scene at a carnival, 1940’s upbeat and positive music is played noticeably in the background as Noah tries to convince Allie to go out with him. Also, after having seen a movie together, Noah stops Allie in the middle of a quiet street and asks her to dance. As Noah hums the rhythm to an old fashioned romantic jazz song, the actual music he is humming gets louder and louder and drowns out his singing as the audience watches the couple dance to the now audible and realistic version of the song Noah was originally singing to Allie. Also, later on in the movie when Allie and Noah are much older and have been apart for a long time, Allie is invited to a sock-hop by her new fiancé. The loud music orchestrated by an over enthusiastic man mimics the up-beat jazz bee-bop music commonly played at joyful events such as that one....
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