Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Why you should stop watching The Notebook, according to experts


The Notebook has long been held up as one of the greatest romantic movies of our time. From the schmaltzy ending, to that sizzling kiss in the rain, the Nicholas Sparks drama is packed full of iconic scenes – and Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling’s performance has inspired a lot of fans to “love one another with all my heart and soul” over the years.

Relationship experts, though, aren’t impressed with the flick. At all.

Read more: 10 unrealistic life lessons learned watching The Notebook (and other Nicholas Sparks films)

Time Out recently sat down with a group of romantic experts and asked them to produce a list of the best and worst romantic films. The list was wide and varied (and most definitely worth a read) but the most surprising inclusion was The Notebook.

So what did the Nicholas Sparks film do wrong?

Well, according to Relate counsellor and psychotherapist Gurpreet Singh, the 2004 hit may wax lyrical about love, but it does so whilst perpetuating an unhealthy myth of perfection.

“Noah restores a house for Allie,” says Singh. “He writes letter after letter waiting for her. They die holding hands. Talk about idealised love!”

Singh continues: “If you believe in [The Notebook’s love story], you start to think, ‘I shouldn’t settle for less’.

“But most average couples are nothing like that. We are humans, we are fallible. Love is imperfect because we are.”

In The Notebook’s defence, it’s worth remembering that Noah does declare that a long-term relationship is “not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard [and] we’re gonna have to work at this every day” – but we see Singh’s point.

Read more: Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s impossibly easy secret to long-term love

So what film should we be watching if we want a more honest (and helpful) approach to love?

Singh says we need to head to a galaxy far, far, away if we want a “realistic” romantic movie.

We’re talking about Star Wars: Episode 3 – Revenge of the Sith.

“If you want to look on the dark side, nothing demonstrates a dysfunctional relationship better than Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker,” points out Singh. “It didn’t end happily, but it is realistic. She was older, he was younger and infatuated. Even if you forget the age difference, there were so many signs that the relationship was toxic.”

Sitting down to a film which doesn’t put love up on a pedestal is always worth doing, says Singh, because it teaches you some valuable lessons in the process.

And, through watching Padmé and Anakin fall apart, we’re reminded that “a good relationship is based on communication, shared values and respect”.

“They failed to communicate effectively,” says Singh. “Rather than dealing with it, problems were ignored.”

Hmm. This should make our next movie night very interesting indeed…

Images: Rex Features


love actually andrew lincoln.jpg

Andrew Lincoln on his “creepy stalker” Love Actually character

notebook - crying scene.jpg

10 unrealistic love lessons we learned watching Nicholas Sparks films


Disney is giving us unlimited access to all of our favourite films


The best possible gifts for when flowers aren’t going to cut it

17 unusual and thoughtful gifts for when the s**t hits the fan

by Amy Swales
22 Sep 2017

This Battle of the Sexes legend wants you to STOP asking about McEnroe

“I would like to see John McEnroe win a Grand Slam tournament while pregnant”

by Susan Devaney
22 Sep 2017

“The real reason we should all be upset about Uber”

Grow up: your bank balance really isn’t what’s at stake here

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Sep 2017

There's a huge sherbet fountain coming to London - and it's free

Bompas & Parr are planning a weird, wonderful and nostalgia-filled event

by Helen Brown
22 Sep 2017

Rick and Morty creator responds to sexist trolling of female writers

The show hired four women. Cue cries of “Worst. Episodes. Evah.”

by Amy Swales
22 Sep 2017

Everything you need to know about Uber being banned in London

The taxi firm has had its license revoked by TfL

by Moya Crockett
22 Sep 2017

The new Baileys flavour you’ll want to drink well beyond Halloween

Perfect autumn cocktails ahead

by Amy Swales
22 Sep 2017

This unexpected town has been voted the best place to work in the UK

We didn’t see this one coming

by Moya Crockett
22 Sep 2017

Harry Potter fans, this epic Hogwarts goblet is actually magical

It's perfect for Butterbeer (or prosecco)

by Megan Murray
22 Sep 2017

The hidden meanings behind the nation’s most popular baby names

Prepare for lots of girls’ names ending in ‘a’

by Moya Crockett
22 Sep 2017