Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Notebook Representation Test - Blog 2

The movie The Notebook scored six out of a possible twenty-seven points, thus portraying the letter grade, C.  As believed beforehand, the movie received relatively few points, proving the little diversity of the film.  The Notebook is based around the typical storyline of a drama or romance type film with a few differences.  The story is solely told from the main character, Noah’s, perspective with a twist of alternating between the past memory of the love story and the present day memory. 
            Romance and drama movies are challenging genres to incorporate a diverse group of characters although it can be done.  The Notebook heavily focuses on the two main characters, Noah and Allie, while other characters are one-dimensional and quickly removed from the story.  Because of this, the movie scores poorly on diversity with three of the points from a single category, Men.  The notebook heavily focuses on Noah and his thoughts as he chases after Allie from the beginning to the end.  Atypical of this genre, the man is heavily chasing the woman without trying to bring her down from her higher status.  Allie explains to Noah she has to leave for school after summer and he became frustrated because he would not be attending college and Allie suggested he go with her to New York or she could stay in North Carolina with him and not attend college.  He refused to let her walk away from her dreams of college and swore he would never forget her.  No violence is ever seen or hinted at during the movie as well as the absence of perpetuating extreme and unhealthy body ideals for men.  Noah throughout the movie took on the role of a caring and loving guy, not particularly interested in fulfilling the extraordinarily dominant physique of many male roles, especially in the romantic drama genre.  Three of the six points coming from the men category surprised me in different ways.  One being, normally movies with more points under the men category portray the male characters as fulfilling the violent, masculine nature of the typical, male role.  Also, I would not think a Romantic drama would have points under the men category either because of the typical story line most dramas follow with the females chasing a male and something happening where the movie focuses on her life and accomplishments as a female. 
            In contrast, two points arrived under the women category but only for one item.  Even then, Allie is less of a protagonist compared to Noah.  Although Allie is the running force behind the story and a large contributor to the actual plot line, her role does not share equally with the role of Noah, a big difference compared to many romantic dramas.  Also, the movie did not pass the Bechdel Test.  Although Allie and her mom converse, each time they only talk about her future with a boy as well as her mom’s past boyfriend.
            The final point fell under the race, ethnicity, and culture heading but could easily be persuaded from adding to the final tally.  The setting of the film resides in the 1940s and therefore a good number of people in the film are of color, but are portrayed as a servant or housekeeping role for the most part.  No racial prejudices or slurs are made at any time during the film. Aside from the servant or housekeeping roles, occasional African American couples would be shown in the time frame of different scenes in the movie.  One particularly stood out to me at the funeral of Noah’s father when the camera focused on the African American couple consoling Noah. 
            LGBT people and people with disabilities were not represented during this film.  The film circled around the illness of Allie Calhoun, Alzheimer’s disease, but this does not portray the typical disabilities that are put in films as a token.  With many films as well, the director and writers are both white males.  Although this is true, a film's diversity should not rely on the gender of the writer or director.  Typically, the gender of these occupations is a political gesture construed by the entire film industry and should not contribute to the grading of a single movie in my opinion. 

            The film set in the 1940s contributes to the lack of diversity just as much as the actual story line.  Integration and LGBT people did not occur heavily during this time at all and would make the story line invalid if portrayed as so.  The Representation Test does not fairly account for the settings of stories and could fail a movie based on this.  I believe there should not be a pass-fail system for diversity in movies because of the sole fact that many story-lines cannot add diversity truthfully and accurately to a movie.  If the test was more detailed and had other criteria to meet then maybe the test could be applied to more of an array of genres.  The current state of the test cannot adequately grade any film in my opinion because of the vagueness and the lack of balance between the categories from the get go. 

1 comment:

  1. Such a good movie! I love the lead female role in this movie because although she is in a romantic movie and is in love she still holds her independence, definitely earned her score