Australian Council on Children and the Media

Notebook, The

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8s, PG to 15.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Notebook, The
  • a review of Notebook, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 13 October 2004.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Due to its theme and some scary scenes, this movie is not recommended for children under the age of 8
Children aged 8-15 Children in this age bracket would still need parental guidance to view this movie.
Children over the age of 15 Some children over the age of 15 could still benefit from parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Notebook, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Low level coarse language, Sexual references, Mature theme
Length 124 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Notebook is a classic love story retold through the reading of a notebook to an elderly female patient who is in a nursing home, suffering from senile dementia. The story goes back to the 1940s where Allie Hamilton, who comes from a middle class background and is destined for college in New York, falls in love with lumber yard worker, Noah. At first Allie is indifferent towards Noah but is won over by his daring for life and his adventurous spirit. The two fall deeply in love, but their love seems doomed as Allie’s wealthy parents have plans for her life that definitely don’t include a relationship with ‘trash’ like Noah. They relocate to New York so that Allie can go to college and the many letters that Noah writes never reach Allie’s hands.

In the meantime war breaks out and Noah goes off to fight. Allie takes up work nursing wounded soldiers where she meets Lonnie who comes from ‘Southern money’. Lonnie is far more acceptable to Allie’s parents and the two become engaged to be married. Shortly before the wedding, Allie sees a picture of Noah in the newspaper standing next to a grand house, which is the one he had promised to renovate for her. This causes Allie much confusion and she decides to return to Seabrook to find Noah and determine her true feelings.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is a little violence in the movie when Allie and Noah fight and Allie punches and slaps Noah. This happens a couple of times.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

The following scenes would scare children in this age group

  • Noah threatens to fall off the top of a Ferris wheel unless Allie agrees to go out with him.
  • Ally and Noah lie down in the middle of a road waiting for the lights to change when a car comes along – it nearly runs them over.
  • A brief war scene where bombs explode and Noah’s friend Fin is killed.
  • The wounded men in hospital all wrapped in bandages, etc.
  • Noah as an older man has a heart attack
  • The elderly woman starts to remember and then recedes into dementia, gets very angry and violent and has to be restrained.
  • The elderly couple die in bed together

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group could also be scared or disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Some children over the age of eight could still be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes particularly the war scene and the scene in which the elderly woman becomes violent and needs to be restrained.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group may be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • Noah and Allie kiss passionately on several occasions
  • Noah touches Allie’s breasts
  • Allie and Noah undress and lie down together, but are interrupted before sexual activity takes place. No nudity shown.
  • Soldiers are shown lined up in the nude (discreetly covered) for inspection.
  • Noah has a relationship with Martha, a war widow, and they are shown in bed together.
  • Noah and Allie undress each other and have prolonged sexual interlude. No nudity shown.

Use of substances

There is quite a lot of drinking of alcohol: at a dance, at dinner, in bed, in the office. Allie and Noah drink out of bottles.

Coarse language

There is occasional use of the following:

  • bitch
  • arse
  • goddamn
  • crap.

In a nutshell

The take home message of the movie is that ‘love conquers all’. Values parents may wish to encourage include:

  • respect for others from different socio-economic backgrounds
  • loyalty and devotion

The movie may raise issues about sexual relationships that parents can discuss with their children.

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