Listen, I’m not here to argue about whether the 2004 film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ novel The Notebook starring Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling is or is not a good film. But to trim the last minute of the movie and swap in a comparatively dispassionate prelude to credits starring a flock of birds seems like, you know, kind of a bummer.
This was evidently the alternate ending that greeted viewers attempting to stream the film on Netflix in the UK, as was confirmed by the Netflix UK and Ireland Twitter account on Wednesday. In what appeared to be an attempt to assure viewers that it did not severely botch Allie and Noah’s love story all on its own, the account tweeted the following:
So to be clear, and following a number of reports to the contrary, Netflix claims it did not edit the film. And indeed, alternate endings of popular films often do exist. But even Sparks doesn’t appear to know what’s going on here, claiming that he found out about this alternate ending the same way everyone else did. And while we know that Netflix crops movies, entirely cutting a relatively innocuous (albeit tearful) ending does seem unlikely and bizarrely ambitious.
So what’s going on here? It’s possible that this was a cut intended for a different international market, as films are sometimes tweaked in ever-so-slightly different ways to widen their appeal (or, alternatively, to censor them). Pride and Prejudice, as one notable example, got a much sappier release in the U.S. than it did across the pond. Perhaps The Notebook is another such case?
It sounds like Netflix itself is investigating, but we’ve reached out to the company and will update if we hear back.
In any event, The Notebook will arrive in the United States in March. Netflix has assured U.S. audiences that they’ll be able to ugly cry exactly as they remember. So there’s that.