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“Sweet Home Alabama” vs. “The Notebook”

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Movies have always played an alternative to books. At times similar story lines are evident as one watches an excess of movies in a particular genre. The similarity is obvious in “Sweet Home Alabama” and “The Notebook” since in both there is a seven year absence period for the couples, their choices in the types of lives they want to live are uncanny in appearance and the two girl’s reasoning towards the end of the movie are the same. The differences are plenty and they include the genre of the movie itself and its effect on the differences in both, their reasons for turning back to the countryside, and what happens when they do go back.

First love never dies they say. It holds true as in both movies as there is an agonizing seven year absence period between the last meeting of the couples until they are reunited once again. During the seven years of absence the girls have become successful in society (demonstrated in the Notebook), and in their career, illustrated in Sweet Home as Melanie rocks the charts as a fashion designer. Both their men (also during this time) took a trip to New York City. They hoped to find the loves of their lives again, yet found the cause for their misery instead. They both worked the labor of love for the chance to win back the heart of their childhood sweetheart, and the heart of their summer love.

Amid the separation both girls found comfort in the arms of another man. They were both engaged to be married to eligible bachelors with standing positions in society, bachelors whom their parents approve of, who are both rich and love them wholeheartedly. However, in the end they both still chose the simple country lifestyle love over society’s depiction of the perfect love. The girl’s reasoned that they were more able to be their true selves with their first love.

There were also so many memories they reasoned, and both men brought those memories to life as their presentation of their ‘labor of love’ is presented towards the closing. In Sweet Home, Jake opened up a crystal/glass figurine shop inspired by his and Melanie’s childhood night together. The original glass figurine was created when the two were just 10 years old. They were at the beach alone together when they witnessed lightning striking the sand twice in a row. In The Notebook, Noah built the house that he had promised her. The rundown plantation that the couple went to on their first night of experimentation was the house that he rebuilt. She only mentioned it once but he built it with exceptional accuracy (with the white paint, blue shutters, wrap around porch, and the painting room overlooking the lake and all.)

The girls went back after the engagement for closure yet were lost in the discovery of lost love instead. As said in the headlines of Sweet Home Alabama, ‘Sometimes what you’re looking for is right where you left it.’

The genres in which these two movies were placed have directly affected the presentation of the story and set the tone. Sweet Home Alabama is a romantic comedy while The Notebook is considered a romantic drama. Although they have somewhat similar story lines the bulk of the differences lie in the genre.

The reasons for going back however, are totally different in the two. In Sweet Home, divorce papers needed to be signed (Melanie married her current husband in High School) before she married the new bachelor. In The Notebook, however, she went back out of curiosity and for closure before her marriage. A newspaper article was presented to Allie (The Notebook) as she was fitted for her wedding dress and it stated that Noah had just finished “her” dream house the one he promised her he would build.

Friends and recognized members of the community would meet with Melanie (Sweet Home) when she got back to Alabama from New York. Melanie left family and friends behind when she decided to run out on them for a life change. The uncomplicated country lifestyle simply collided with the New York way of life that she was now so accustomed to. In The Notebook the only person Allie met with was Noah. There were no other friends (Noah’s best friend died fighting in a war) or family (her entire family was still in New York preparing for the wedding) to visit. Melanie tended to bars, jailhouses, banks, and carnivals hunting down her countryside husband for his signature in the divorce (he finally signed but she didn’t). Allie however, didn’t seek the truth but found it during her stay with Noah. The truth was stumbled upon as she and Noah fought, the 365 letters that he wrote her, one for each day of the year, and the feelings of loneliness that she went through when she assumed he didn’t write.

Sweet Home Alabama and The Notebook were similar in a myriad of ways, but the most important similarity is that they were eventually reunited with their soul mate, regardless of class order.

Works Cited:

The Notebook. Dir. Nick Cassavetes. Perf. Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling. DVD. New Line Home Entertainment.

Sweet Home Alabama. Perf. Reese Witherspoon.

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