Nights In Rodanthe

Nights In Rodanthe


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

This is based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks and, like his other adaptations, it's a romance set on the southeastern coast of the US. Like the others it has a relatively famous cast, and like the others it will doubtless be popular with the audience it's aimed at.

You may not be the target audience of this film, but there's a simple test: would you watch a film where characters played by Diane Lane and Richard Gere fell in love and helped each other complete emotional journeys?

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If the answer is no, there's not much point in reading further. You might enjoy some of the other films out this week. If the answer is yes, well, there's not much point in reading further. That's what happens.

There are subplots, of course, the details of their emotional journeys. Gere's high flying plastic surgeon, Dr Paul Flanner, is estranged from his son and trying to deal with a lawsuit from a grieving husband. Lane's wood-carving housewife Adrienne Willis has a husband who is cheating on her and an uncooperative teenage daughter. Tears are shed, angry words are exchanged, there's even, in the sometimes bizarre language of the BBFC, a "mild sex scene".

Gere and Lane work well together, though one extended conversation sequence is made entirely of head shots; at first it seems quirky, and then one starts to wonder if it was impossible for director George C Wolfe to have them on set at the same time, or if the lighting requirements for his stars' faces were mutually exclusive.

As widower Robert Torrelson, Scott Glenn is his usual gravelly self, Law And Order veteran Christopher Meloni is his usual stalwart self as Jack Willis, Mae Whitman (who was previously a divorcee's daughter in Hope Floats) is touching as a vaguely gothic teenager caught in a messy situation, and Viola Davis is cheery as both a guesthouse owner and friend to Adrienne. James Franco, fresh from Pineapple Express and taking time out from his Harry Osborn duties in the multimedia Spider-Man empire is the junior Dr Flanner, and he's not too bad either.

There's the usual emotional journey stuff then, and while that's all fair enough the smaller details are sometimes jarring. The natives of Rodanthe, a little town in Cape Hatteras, are friendly enough one assumes, but when the town is hit by a hurricane the immediate response is a crab dinner. Then there's the fact that after the storm Dr Flanner's Aston Martin isn't even wet.

Still, that sort of thing isn't going to matter. Those little niggles are invisible if you're concentrating on Gere and Lane and their strenuous emoting. Nights In Rodanthe isn't for everyone, but it's well aimed at its target audience. It's a romance for sure, but not one everyone will desire.

Reviewed on: 10 Oct 2008
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Nights In Rodanthe packshot
Two unhappy strangers meet in a remote inn and fall in love.
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Director: George C. Wolfe

Writer: Ann Peacock, John Romano

Starring: Diane Lane, Richard Gere, Christopher Meloni, Viola Davis, Becky Ann Baker, Scott Glenn, Linda Molloy

Year: 2008

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US, Australia


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