“I have loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, that has always been enough.”
God-awful book, wonderful film. Although I have literally seen this movie one hundred times and could (and often do) reenact scenes from memory, I watched it nonetheless when it graced my t.v. on Friday.
When I was at my loneliest in my first year of adult singledom, I would watch this movie religiously, as if I could attract such a love into my own life just through general proximity to it. Someday, I, too, will have a mutual love that is so deep and so strong that my lover and I can simultaneously euthanize each other with it.
It’s every girl’s dream. Maybe not the love-euthanasia part, but to have a man that I love who also loves me and is so wholly devoted to me that his life would stop if mine did. That he would dedicate every ounce of his being into bringing me back to life.
Wow. When its down on paper like this, it sounds a wee bit unhealthy. Not even borderline, just clearly into the land of the obsessed.
Yet, to the normal viewer, the movie is purely entertainment. Everyone cries at the end and goes on with their daily lives. But to the single girl in love with love, this movie is just plain dangerous.
Noah becomes a sort of standard whom other guys must live up to. Or, even more dangerously, as a woman, you take on the role of Noah, to prove that nothing–not mountains, oceans, or time–could kill your deep and sincere love. It worked out well in the movie, after all. But–much to the single girl in love with love’s chagrin–reality hardly ever works out that way. Then, you’re just the dope who wrote a guy a letter a day for a year (we will NEVER get into that story).
And anyway, what is so great about Noah? After the way he treated Martha, he proved he could be just like any other man is when he’s with a woman he doesn’t love. But women skip that part of the film. They bypass the fact that they have been or could be somebody’s Martha in the hopes that someday they’ll be somebody’s Allie.
Women love this movie because for once it focuses on a guy whose passion for a woman is so strong and unbreakable that the thought of living without her is unbearable. But what else do we know about this guy? His singular ambition was to buy a house and fix it up, which he did in his twenties–for her. Ok, so he can set a long-term goal and reach it. But then what? What else did he want? What else did he do? I understand that their love was the focus of the movie–his love for her in particular–but what is very unclear to me is why she loved him so much, anyway? (She obviously did because, for once in a film, she had a choice between two good men who loved her and treated her well and she chose brokeass Noah). Was the foundation of her love for him the fact that he loved her so very much? And if so, is that good enough?
My favorite quote from the beginning of the film is Noah saying: “I have loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, that has always been enough.” Yes, in theory, this is very sweet. In reality? Not so much. I mean, isn’t there more to life? Love–while wonderful when you are in it and heaven when its reciprocated–is completely emotional and therefore both volatile and capricious. Yes, I believe love can be a beautiful fall-back position–no matter if I fail at life, this person will still love me. It’s a comforting thought that can give us the courage to achieve anything. But isn’t the larger point that we should need the courage to achieve anything? God forbid I stand before Him and say, “Well, Lord, I didn’t do much with the life you gave me, but dang it if me and Billy didn’t love each other a bunch!”
Reverand Run dropped some wisdom on Twitter the other day that irked me: “Ladies..The ideal man doesnt sin, doesnt foul up, doesnt cry, doesnt make u cry & DOESNT EXSIST! (pic 1 & move on).” Maybe the good reverend makes an important point that there is no perfect man, but really? “Pic 1 & move on?” Granted, one should take wisdom that’s only 140 characters long with a grain of salt, but are these really our choices: (1) love a guy because he really loves you; (2) close off your heart until the core-shaking kind of love occurs; or (3) your ideal guy doesn’t exist so just “pic 1 & move on?”
Surely there is middle-earth between: hopelessly devoted to you, my endless love, and it takes a fool to learn that love don’t love nobody.
The Notebook created a completely unrealistic standard that even the author of the book didn’t fathom (and can I just say, brava to the screenwriters who read that drivel and thought, “hey, we can turn this steaming pile into a good story.”) And it is a good story. And, although I now watch it with a jaundiced eye, it does help me to believe that real love can last throughout a lifetime and it can be mutual and it can be the foundation of your world without being the all-encompassing center of it.
My purpose on this earth is not to “love another with all my heart and soul.” But it is something I will do. Most important to me, though, is that my lover have a purpose that compliments my purpose and serves as a base for our love and–consequently–our love would serve as a launching pad to achieve our purposes. Not nearly as romantic as Romeo & Juliet drinking poison or willing ourselves to die together. But for me, that kind of love would always be enough.
And, we’d actually be alive at the end of the day. So, there’s that.