The variations of high and low key lighting design create the moods. The cinematography is evocative and the music never goes over-the-top. This technique is called flashback narrative, which is the interruption of chronological plot time with a shot or series of shots that show an event that has happened earlier in the story.
Allie becomes a volunteer in a hospital for wounded soldiers, where she meets an officer named Lon Hammond, Jr James Marsden. But fate brought them together after the war, and before Allie married her soldier beau James Marsden.
It turns out that Allie is suffering from dementia, so, to stir her memories, Noah reads from a notebook that recounts their tumultuous, improbable romance.
In the beginning of the movie, the audience is completely unaware that the old couple has any relationship to Noah and Allie, yet as Cassavetes continues to alternate these scenes at select times, the audience gains more and more clues that the old couple is really Noah and Allie who after all of the obstacles they were put through, ended up together in the end.
At the end of the summer, Noah takes Allie to an abandoned house, which he explains that he intends to buy for them. In this particular scene on the lake, high-key lighting is used to enhance the blissful emotions of two people, whom were once in love, reuniting to discover that they still have deep feelings for one another.
It comes across as a badly diluted imitation of Iris which handles the issue of fading memory with more poignancy than The Notebook could hope for.