'The Choice' Vs. 'The Notebook' Shows Just How Similar The Nicholas Sparks Films Are
Nicholas Sparks is an author that you either love or hate, thanks to his passion for romances that end in disaster. The films based on his books, like the novels themselves, all tell stories of young, idealized love, and Sparks' newest adaptation, The Choice, is no exception. And while it's similar in that way to many Sparks works, it's actually eerily close to one previous book and movie by the author in particular. If you didn't already guess based off the trailer, The Choice and The Notebook are two peas in a (very depressing) pod.
The two movies fall into the same general Sparks formula in that they both have the following elements: white, heterosexual protagonists; an intense romantic relationship with a healthy dose of bickering; a small Southern town as the backdrop; and a tragic medical issue. But their similarities run deeper than that, which makes sense given that Sparks himself writes on his website that he was inspired to write The Choice because there was "something magical" about The Notebook, and he wanted to capture "at least a bit of that magic once more." It's interesting to me that the author made the decision to write the later novel after the movie adaptation of The Notebook had been released and was a success, but evidently Hollywood still thought The Choice was original enough to warrant its own adaptation. See for yourself how The Choice and The Notebook stack up: here are some of the ways in which they're alike.
Two Up-And-Coming Stars
Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams weren't yet A-listers when they were cast in The Notebook, and The Choice is following suit in its casting decisions. Although lead actor Teresa Palmer already has a slew of acting credits, she is not yet a household name, nor is her male costar Benjamin Walker. It'll be interesting to see if that's still the case a year from now.
The Female Character Is Already Taken
In The Notebook, Allie was engaged to wealthy cotton heir Lon when Noah entered the picture and swept up her little Southern heart. In The Choice, Gabby is conflicted by her passion for Travis due to the fact that she already has a long-term doctor boyfriend. The dreamy James Marsden played Lon, and former Smallville star Tom Welling plays Ryan. Yes, the woman in The Choice is literally dating Clark Kent. Her life is really hard.
The Narrative Is Framed Between The Past And Present Day
Both movies are divided into the story of how the characters met/fell in love and the story of where the characters are currently. Spoiler alert: in both, the present-day circumstances involve the female protagonist being indisposed for medical reasons, and the male protagonist being conflicted about how to proceed. It's like a modern-day Sleeping Beauty, but without any of the fairytale charm.
The verdict? The movies are pretty damn similar, but if you're paying to see a Nicholas Sparks movie, you probably already anticipated that, and don't view that as a bad thing at all. So if a romantic tearjerker is what you're in the mood for, then by all means grab your tickets and your tissues and head to the theaters.
Images: Lionsgate (2), New Line Cinema