with Chris Cruise

Life Imitates Art As ‘The Notebook’ Turns 20

One of our favorite movies, “The Notebook,” was released in theaters 20 years ago today!

The film is based on the best-selling 1996 novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. Sparks has said the story is inspired by his ex-wife Cathy Sparks’ grandparents.

The book and the movie follow the story of Allie and Noah Calhoun, who fall in love in the 1940s, separate, and eventually find their way back to one another. They marry, have children, and a full life together, until Allie begins to suffer from dementia. Noah reads her their love story from a notebook, keeping their connection alive.

The movie starred Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling as the younger Allie and Noah. The older Allie and Noah were played by Gena Rowlands and James Garner.

Rowlands’ son, Nick Cassavetes directed the film and just revealed that his mother is also suffering from dementia.

“I got my mom to play older Allie, and we spent a lot of time talking about Alzheimer’s and wanting to be authentic with it, and now, for the last five years, she’s had Alzheimer’s,” Cassavetes told a reporter. “She’s in full dementia. And it’s so crazy — we lived it, she acted it, and now it’s on us.”

Rowlands’ mother also suffered from Alzheimer’s. In 2004, Rowlands told O magazine that she almost didn’t take the role of Allie. “I went through [Alzheimer’s] with my mother, and if Nick hadn’t directed the film, I don’t think I would have gone for it — it’s just too hard,” Rowlands said. “It was a tough but wonderful movie.”

It sure was… hard to believe it’s been 20 years!

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