Over the past few days, fans of the 2004 romance movie The Notebook erupted in anger when they found out that the version of the movie on Netflix U.K. changed the bittersweet ending.
The Notebook stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton, a pair of reunited lovers who enjoy a summer fling before Allie’s snooty family tears them apart. The film eventually jumps ahead in time, where it’s revealed that the framing of an old man reading a story to an old woman is actually — spoilers for a 15-year-old movie! — old Noah telling a dementia-ridden Allie the story of their love. Noah and Allie then crawl side by side in bed together to fall asleep. The next morning, a nurse discovers the pair has passed away. Cue the tears. Cue the credits.
The version currently on Netflix U.K., however, cuts out the part with the nurse. Instead, it goes from the scene of Noah and Allie falling asleep …
… directly to a scene of birds flying in the trees, which starts the end credits:
Though The Notebook received mixed reviews from critics when it first came out (today it sits at 53 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), the film smashed the box office and won over the hearts of romance fans everywhere. Fifteen years after the original release, the fan base is still as passionate as ever.
So much so that when people discovered that the Netflix U.K. ending was different, many cried out and accused Netflix of meddling with the cut, despite the fact there is no evidence that the streaming service meddled with films or movies prior.
I’m not big into romantic movies but I have seen #thenotebook and @netflix what you did wasnt ok that ending was beautiful it’s all I can ever hope for in my marriage so when I finally eat dirt I can go with the one I love dont you dare take that away! Put it back!
— Huggydaddy (@huggydaddy) February 25, 2019
Earlier today, Netflix U.K.’s official Twitter account addressed the situation. Netflix did not edit the ending, the post read. Instead, an alternate version was supplied to it.
“Apparently some films have more than one ending?!” the ever-sociable Netflix account ended with.
Things you should know…
– we did not edit the notebook
– an alternate version exists and was supplied to us
– we are getting to the bottom of it asap
– apparently some films have more than one ending?!
— Netflix UK & Ireland (@NetflixUK) February 27, 2019
Netflix could not be immediately reached for comment on the error, but most likely, this is a less a nefarious issue of editing out a beloved, tearjerker moment than a distributor sending out the wrong version stored in some digital warehouse, as movies do and often test out alternate endings with audience screenings before release. In the streaming era, it’s a mix-up that feels more plausible as archives pile up, and potentially more frequent as Netflix’s back catalogue grows to an unfathomable size.