Nights in Rodanthe (2008)
Nights in Rodanthe (2008)

Genre: Romantic Drama Running Time: 1 hr. 37 min.

Release Date: September 26th, 2008 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: George C. Wolfe Actors: Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Christopher Meloni, Viola Davis, Scott Glenn, Linda Molloy, Pablo Schreiber, Mae Whitman, James Franco

 


 

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he chemistry between Richard Gere and Diane Lane periodically appears credible in “Nights in Rodanthe” (adapted from Nicholas Sparks’ novel), but the practicality and reasoning behind nearly all of their actions are wholly unnatural. Borrowing heavily from the epic romance of 1980’s Best Picture Academy Award winner “Out of Africa,” “Nights in Rodanthe” fails to develop originality – or sense – behind its spontaneous love affair betwixt two unlikely candidates. Here, getting swept into the notion that love prevails over all else is just too much to take (which is certainly not a new idea from Sparks).

Dr. Paul Flanner (Richard Gere) feels responsible for the death of a surgery patient who died from an adverse reaction to anesthesia. In his guilt, he agrees to drive to an isolated beach house in Rodanthe, North Carolina, to meet with the husband (Scott Glenn), who has filed a lawsuit against the dispirited doctor. The trip is also on the way to his ultimate destination, which is to retrieve his son (James Franco) from Equador, where he has moved to in order to distance himself from his disappointment (or general incompatibility) with his father and his poor handling of the fated operation.

Meanwhile, Adrienne Willis (Diane Lane) is struggling with her two young children, who are in turn coping with their parents’ recent divorce. Adrienne wants nothing to do with her unfaithful husband Jack (Christopher Meloni), who foments discontent with their children to coerce their mother into allowing him back. When Jack takes the kids for a spell, Adrienne travels to Rodanthe to look after a luxurious inn for her best friend – the same vacation house that Dr. Flanner has booked – leaving the two of them alone to slowly craft a life-changing romance.

The love story that builds from so many tragedies (and convenient coincidences) simply isn’t convincing. The unmindful, unlucky doctor meets with the distraught mother in a terrifying hurricane – what a perfect setting for romance. Even looking past the uninspired genesis, “Nights in Rodanthe” forgets to utilize its surprisingly short running time to develop the characters. The audience doesn’t have time to become involved in their sudden affair, while the rest of their wooing takes place through voiceovers as they narrate love letters back and forth.

It’s like a sillier version of “Out of Africa,” but with more crying, less sweeping romance, and more modernized problems over which the lovers must contend. And it’s also noticeably missing a moving soundtrack and score. To its credit, the focus on older roles (especially considering the abundance of pictures targeting the more profitable 18-25 demographic) is, at the very least, a slight change-up. But it’s still never ambitious enough to create a worthwhile moviegoing experience (at any age).

– Mike Massie

  • 3/10