Richard Gere, Diane Lane
George C. Wolfe
Ann Peacock, John Romano (book by Nicholas Sparks)
We know that Richard Gere and Diane Lane CAN have quite the chemistry.
In "Nights in Rodanthe" they don't.
Based upon a novel by Nicholas Sparks, "Nights in Rodanthe" wants desperately to be a tearjerking love story along the lines of another Sparks inspired flick, "The Notebook."
Despite the presence of Gere and Lane, who could undoubtedly pull off a weepy love story, "Nights in Rodanthe" comes much closer to being one of Paul McCartney's silly love songs. Director George C. Wolfe ("Lackawanna Blues") mixes a paper-thin plot with an awkwardly uneven production design, modest special effects, thinly drawn characters and editing that appears to be driving home the message "You should cry now."
I don't mind crying during films. I mind being told when to cry.
The two have gathered at a seaside lighthouse inn, both experiencing a certain level of grief surrounded by loneliness and a certain lack of faith. The storms within soon are matched by the external storms as the rustic seaside inn is struck by a hurricane that appears to do little damage but inspires a night of passion between the two.
Okay, I admit it. I'm snickering.
The truth is I snickered a lot during "Nights in Rodanthe," not exactly the response they were going for (I hope!).
In 2002's "Unfaithful," Gere and Lane were simply marvelous. Here, we're left to imagine what might've been had they been gifted with a decent script, story and coherent production values. The fact that "Nights in Rodanthe" is even remotely watchable rests almost exclusively upon the coupling of Gere and Lane, who manage to survive this romantic slop without embarrassing themselves.
While I can't give myself to actually recommending "Nights in Rodanthe," it's a film that may register as a date night alternative for fans of "The Notebook" and/or older singles or couples who may more strongly identify with its themes of longing, loneliness and lifelong searching. Considering the inherent romance of its source material and its stellar lead performers, however, it's hard to consider "Nights in Rodanthe" anything but a major disappointment.
by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic