Nights In Rodanthe

  • Year:2008
  • Rating:PG
  • Director:George C. Wolfe
  • Cast:Viola Davis, Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Christopher Meloni
  • Release Date:November 06, 2008
  • Distributor:Roadshow
  • Running time:97 minutes
  • Film Worth:$12.50
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

“…a moving and emotionally satisfying experience.”

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If ever a film has been sold short by its preview trailer, it's this one. A litany of romance movie cliches, it completely misses the core of grief and sadness that makes Nights In Rodanthe such a moving and emotionally satisfying experience. This is a film about sad, damaged people, and the cheery, running-down-the-beach, falling-into-each-other's-arms trailer does it an enormous, unfair disservice.

Adapted from the novel by Nicholas Sparks (who wrote the epic romance The Notebook, as well as the lesser A Walk To Remember and Message In A Bottle) - a master at wringing maximum emotion from his stories - Nights In Rodanthe is a three-hanky-wipe-the-tears flick, make no mistake. When combined with the natural, easy chemistry of the utterly charming and extremely easy-on-the-eye Richard Gere and Diane Lane (reuniting for the third time after 1984's The Cotton Club and 2002's Unfaithful), the results are near combustible.

Adrienne (Lane) is a divorced mother of two whose cheating husband (Law & Order: SVU's Clint Meloni) wants to rekindle their relationship. Paul (Richard Gere) is a surgeon being sued after one of his patients dies on the operating table. The two meet on the island of Rodanthe in North Carolina: Adrienne is there to look after an inn owned by her best friend (Viola Davis), and Paul checks in when he arrives in town to meet with the anguished husband (Scott Glenn) of his dead patient. Both profoundly unhappy and confused people, Adrienne and Paul find solace in each other, and embark on a hesitant, emotionally fraught romance that will have tough, life-changing consequences for them both.

Though the choppy, occasionally uncertain direction by TV vet George C. Wolf lacks cohesion and a sense of style, Nights In Rodanthe is a film about characters, and they're embodied beautifully here. Gere and Lane (who has a wrenching, heartbreaking scene that rates with her best work) are both superb, and they're capably backed by Scott Glenn (similarly brilliant in a sad and unforgettably moving scene), Viola Davis (whose sassiness is good in small doses, and provides welcome comic relief), James Franco (excellent as Gere's son) and talent-to-watch Mae Whitman (who hits all points of the emotional map as Lane's initially distant daughter).

While not for the cynical or hard-of-heart, Nights In Rodanthe is something of a rarity: a film that puts its characters first. The fact that they're older, more mature people who have lived full, difficult lives makes it even more satisfying.

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