Thursday, 01 October 2020
Nights in Rodanthe
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Thursday, 02 October 2008 00:00

ThumbnailI’m one of the sappiest most hopelessly romantic people I know. I’ll elaborately plan romantic evenings, give homemade gifts to my honey and leave notes in his lunchbox – maybe a bit cliché but it all comes straight from that squishy, tender spot we call the heart. However, sit me in a theatre for two hours of contrived, sentimental drivel like Nights in Rodanthe and I’m about ready to tear out said squishy organ and throw it at the silver screen.

Diane Lane plays Adrienne Willis, a forty-something woman who has lost her identity in her family life. A cheating husband who now wants back in to her life, a teenage daughter with no respect, and everyone giving their two-cents worth of advice has her backed into a corner. When her friend asks her to look after her inn in Rodanthe, Adrienne jumps at the chance to get away for a few days. After all, how hard could it be with only one guest to look after?

That guest of course, is a dashing and wealthy doctor played by Richard Gere.  He’s a sullen fellow whose life is also crumbling around him. He’s come to Rodanthe to atone for the death of a patient and to try and shake the medical malpractice suit that’s been filed against him. At first the relationship is strained, but as the two learn more about each other it morphs from wariness, to companionship and then something deeper.

Author Nicholas Sparks should buy stocks in Kleenex, maybe even do an ad campaign for them. He certainly specializes in tear wrangling and manipulating the emotions of his readers/audiences. But even a heavy-duty box of triple-ply doesn’t make this movie worthwhile. Sparks’ The Notebook held a special charm with its grandiose nature; a sweeping love story that took place over decades of star-crossed, on-again-off-again romance. The dynamic performances and obvious chemistry of the stars are what elevated it into damn near classic romance status.

ThumbnailRodanthe is a love affair on a smaller scale that takes place over only a few days. Diane Lane and Richard Gere certainly look like a great match on paper but on screen the electricity just isn’t there. Oh, they are convincing enough at delivering even the cheesiest of dialogue, but when it comes time for that on-screen kiss it’s like watching wax dummies mashing lips together. Stiff, awkward and mildly disturbing. Need I mention the requisite slow-mo love scene? Despite the awkwardness of certain scenes, it was a nice change of pace to have a passionate love story about grown-ups for a change.

Nights in Rodanthe tries very hard to stir up the waterworks, especially in the last act but I didn’t feel strongly enough about what happened to really care. The scenes between Diane Lane and her onscreen teenage daughter brought more salt-water to my eyes than the tragic romance with Gere. I think the real love story here is between Nicholas Sparks and his ever-fattening wallet. Now, about those Kleenex stocks…