Nights in Rodanthe (2008)   3/53/53/53/53/5


Richard Gere and Diane Lane in Nights in Rodanthe

Lane Gets Into Gere for Rodanthe Romance

"Nights in Rodanthe" is a movie where my opinion vastly differs from the majority of paid and unpaid film critics, I enjoyed it. I liked the fact that "Nights in Rodanthe" feels minimal both in look and storyline, I liked that the storyline is for the most an extremely predictable romance, I liked the fact that the special effects were not that spectacular and although the dialogue is pretty cliché, you guessed it I liked it. "Nights in Rodanthe" is not pretentious, despite having two big stars it's not vying for commercial likeability but for me it tells a simple yet lovely story of true love.

With her troubled marriage playing heavily on her thoughts, Adrienne Willis (Diane Lane - Jumper) retreats to the island town of Rodanthe in North Carolina to spend the weekend looking after her friends holiday Inn. With only the one guest expected she hopes that time away from her life will give her the time to sort out her thoughts. But when the guest arrives, Dr. Paul Flanner (Richard Gere - Bee Season), a man who is also at the inn to sort out issues in his life, they turn to each other for comfort and sparks a romance which will change their lives for ever.

Diane Lane and Richard Gere in Nights in Rodanthe

Let me start by saying why many people have felt disappointed when they watched "Nights in Rodanthe". It's an adaptation of a novel written by Nicholas Sparks who also wrote "A Walk to Remember" and of course "The Notebook" and to be honest his movies have been adapted to the big screen with quite a lot of success, especially in the case of the much loved "The Notebook". So "Nights in Rodanthe" had a lot to live up to on the adaptation front and sadly doesn't live up to the expectations set by the predecessors. But as a standalone movie it works well in a minimal sense.

I will admit that for nearly the first half of "Nights in Rodanthe" it struggled to really gain my interest. I found it difficult to watch what I knew was a romantic drama yet the romance was barely there and felt slightly uneasy watching a much stripped back drama which concentrates basically on two people cooped up in a house. But then it starts to get going and although when it hits it stride it results in a series of pretty predictable scenes it is enjoyable in a cliché sense of the word.

But here's the good thing, it got me immersed in the progressing romance between Adrienne and Paul, I was willing them on to succeed and was sure that I knew what would ultimately happen. I was wrong, for all those who say "Nights in Rodanthe" is completely predictable must be cold hearted as it has a twist which felt like someone had stuck a knife in my heart and twisted it round to increase the pain. In all honesty it shocked me as I didn't expect what happened in the movie and although I am sure other movies have used a similar twist, the paired down simplicity of "Nights in Rodanthe" makes its impact all the more greater.

Getting past the actual storyline which also involves a widowed resident of Rodanthe which provides the reasoning as to why Paul Flanner chose the inn for his stay, the location is magnificent. The quirky house which sits on the beach is stunning and the surroundings are gorgeous. But unlike a lot of romantic dramas it does feel that director George C. Wolfe has not fully capitalized on the naturally beauty of the location which I have to say is a bit of a disappointment. Maybe it's because I am more accustomed to long lens shots which feature more of the surroundings rather than the close lens nature of "Nights in Rodanthe".

Now onto the casting of Diane Lane and Richard Gere in what is their third movie together after "The Cotton Club" and "Unfaithful". Well it works perfectly well and I feel that maybe it is down to the pairing that makes "Nights in Rodanthe" for me more enjoyable. They have a natural sort of interaction as if they are old friends and not once does it feel that any intimacy between them is forced and unreal. Lane does what she always does, brings that ordinary likeability to the character of Adrienne, you get a real sense that the character has come to a crossroads where she must decide whether to settle for a life which is not what she really wants. Equally Gere is just as convincing as a man who having dedicated his life to being the best is now also at a crossroads in his life where he needs to learn how to live again.

For the most "Nights in Rodanthe" is a study of these two as their relationship and love of life blossoms but in a great supporting performance as a widowed husband is Scott Glenn.

I can see why many audiences have been disappointed by "Nights in Rodanthe". With its heritage and casting it looks like it should be a much bigger movie and if you watch it with that impression you will be disappointed. Plus I would imagine that the novel is far more intense and as is normal many people who watch movies after reading the book will also be disappointed. But for me "Nights in Rodanthe" is good in its simplicity. It does try to be anything other than a simple love story which affects two peoples lives greatly. It may be at times cliché and suffer from occasional cheesy dialogue but if like me you get engrossed it will slap you in the face with an emotional twist which will leave you weeping.

Tags: Nicholas Sparks


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