Nights in Rodanthe – Review

Did we really need another Bridges of Madison County?

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Director: George C. Wolfe
Notable Cast:
Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Christopher Meloni, Viola Davis, Scott Glenn, James Franco

Every novel about romance, it seems, gets made into a movie at some point. Good, bad, or somewhere in between, romance is still something that when done well can be mesmerizing to watch. When done badly it usually is in the form of a romantic comedy with Dane Cook. Sometimes, though, you can get a rare screen gem that makes you want to fall in love all over again. Nights in Rodanthe isn’t one of those films.

Following the tale of Paul (Richard Gere) and Adrienne (Diane Lane), a couple who find themselves stuck in a Hurricane off the coast of Florida. Adrienne is tending to the bed and breakfast of a friend for the weekend, away from her kids and ex-husband. Paul, a wealthy plastic surgeon, has gone down to see the husband of a deceased patient before venturing to see his son in Ecuador (James Franco). During the several nights they spend in the house, they discover one of those rare “true loves” that only exist in a Hollywood movie. One so sweet it’ll leave you as a Diabetic. And by the time it ends, Nights in Rodanthe leaves you wishing you had that disease as opposed to watching this film.

With some of the most insipid dialogue of the year, the film has a big epic love story to tell but does it in such a haphazard manner that it’s laughable throughout the film. Diane Lane and Richard Gere, reunited after universal acclaim in Unfaithful, make for an appealing couple and there’s a definite chemistry in the air. We can believe they would fall in love they way they do, but everything they say is so ridiculous that any good will they develop goes right out the window. Part of any translation of novel to film leaves a lot out, but there are certain things a novelist can get away with that a screenwriter can’t. Stilted, awkward dialogue is one of them and in a book one can get away with atrocious lines.

George C. Wolfe does a couple things right, and most of them happen when he lets Gere and Lane do things non-verbally. When they move with each other, the film has an elegance to it that’s hard to miss. There are certain moments, including one where they dance on a pier together, where they don’t speak and there’s a magic about it. And its wonderful to see these two, who are in love, but then they have to start speaking and the moment is gone.

Nights in Rodanthe also has plenty of good camera work as well. Wolfe uses a lot of great sweeping shots of the particular part of Florida he’s in, some particularly jaw-dropping and it almost feels like a great movie is to be found in all the mess. It’s unfortunate, really, as the film has enormous potential but just doesn’t get into gear. The film is a low-rent version of The Bridges of Madison County, complete with a similar ending and a script that copies so much but lacks the delicate touch of Clint Eastwood.


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