Friday, January 24, 2014

Nights in Rodanthe (2008) [PG-13] **

Dr. Paul Flanner (Richard Gere) is a cold, heartless surgeon; when a woman dies on his operating table due to a reaction to the anesthetic, Paul is incapable of talking to her husband and sends his surgical nurse instead. A year later Paul's wife has divorced him, he's estranged from his physician son Mark (James Franco), and he's facing a malpractice lawsuit from the husband (Scott Glenn), who has asked Paul to come to his home in Rodanthe, N.C.

Paul books a room at an oceanfront guest inn on the Outer Banks where he meets Adrienne Willis (Diane Lane), a friend of Jean (Viola Davis) the inn's owner. Adrienne is in her mid-forties, isolated, vulnerable, and in crisis. Her teenage daughter Amanda (Mae Whitman) resents her, and her husband Jack (Christopher Meloni), who had left her for another woman, wants her to take him back. To give herself time to think, Adrienne has offered to be Jean's weekend caretaker at the guest inn where, due to an approaching storm, Paul is the only guest. As the storm makes landfall, Adrienne and Paul find themselves turning to one another for comfort, conversation and, ultimately, for affection. Their passionate affair awakens both of them; Paul's heart opens to the pain he has caused, and Adrienne realizes she's been ignoring her own needs for years. But before they can begin a life together, Paul must fly to South America to reconcile with his son, who runs a clinic in the dangerous mountainous back country of Ecuador.

Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks (Dear John, The Last Song, Message in a Bottle, The Notebook, A Walk to Remember), the screenplay feels like a made-for-TV melodrama, the pacing is glacial, the romantic soundtrack is maudlin, the performances border on overacting, and the minimal chemistry between Diane Lane and Richard Gere makes it hard for us to believe that these two mature adults would fall in love over the course of a four-day weekend. Nevertheless, if you enjoy films adapted from Nicholas Sparks' novels, you will probably like Nights in Rodanthe. 

Labels: drama, romance, tragedy
Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 39/100
Tomatometer (critics=30, viewers=52)

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