It’s enough to make a fan write letters of complaint every day for a year: Netflix UK has reportedly changed the famous ending of beloved weepie The Notebook, and in case you’ve been living on Neptune in a hermetically sealed iron box for the past 30 years, people online aren’t big fans of beloved films being screwed with.
As was noticed by The Playlist, folks on social media began calling attention to the change last month. For those who have never seen the original film, the emotional button-pushing end of the Nicholas Sparks adaptation is both wildly melodramatic and undeniably effective. An old man has been telling his elderly companion the story of Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams falling in love in the 1940s (you get it), when in the final twist, the two seniors are revealed to be the aged versions of the Gosling and McAdams, his tale a way to remind his Alzheimer’s-stricken wife of their love story. The two of them end the movie dying in each other’s arms. Cue the waterworks.
Now, it’s not that Netflix UK changed the ending itself, obviously, so much as it foolishly grabbed a different version. In the alternate version being aired by the streaming service, apparently the whole “dying during the night in each other’s arms” has been excised entirely, the movie instead cutting to what sounds almost like some bland footage of birds flying over a lake. It’s stripped the ending of its emotional gut punch, in other words, and replaced it with a generic happy ending of sorts. And much in the same way your average A.V. Club reader would likely respond if they sat down for a screening of No Country For Old Men on Netflix and the film concluded with Tommy Lee Jones’ Sheriff Bell capturing Anton Chigurh, locking him up, and saying, “All in a day’s work, ma’am,” British fans of the movie are venting their spleen. Here’s a small sampling:
As of yet, Netflix has not officially responded. Perhaps it, too, is suffering from dementia, and continually forgets that it is airing the wrong version of the movie. If only there was a James Garner equivalent of streaming services to hold its hand and assure Netflix UK it’ll all be fine. And then they can both be dead tomorrow morning, as God and director Nick Cassavetes intended.