True to the previews, “Nights in Rodanthe” is sure to pull some heartstrings. However, it proved to not be the most efficient script for the goal it pursued.
Consistently over-dramatic, the characters and script created a sappy, ongoing love story that was sometimes very awkward.
When Adrienne Willis’ (Diane Lane) husband cheats on her, she decides to oversee her friend’s inn for a few days. Dr. Paul Flanner (Richard Gere) finds himself staying at the inn on his way to make up with his estranged son.
Expectedly, when two hurt people are placed in an odd situation together, they develop a relationship fairly quickly. At the start, however, Flanner comes off as an arrogant, uncaring man while Willis is merely trying to stay afloat.
This odd combination of personalities, portrayed efficiently by the actors, generates a connection that branches both of their problems.
Again, expectedly, an ensuing storm hits and brings the characters even closer. But the relationship is still tense, either by fault of the script or of the actors.
The script seems a tad forced at times, with cheesy moments and lines. But the actors, again, pull them off fairly decently, even though there is an underlying sense of ridiculousness.
As the story progresses their relationship gets easier, even as the other parts of their lives get harder. Flanner leaves the inn to find his son, and the script gets cheesier.
Letters are exchanged between Flanner and Willis that are, unfortunately, awkward. Rather than expressing angst and love, they are drafted in the likeness of epic love stories, but poorly written.
Throughout the separation Willis is focused on her own desires and her connection to Flanner through letters. The happiness exemplified when Willis makes the upcoming climax the only unexpected moment in the movie.
Thrown in toward the end, almost as a side note, is the importance of Willis’ kids.
The last scene defined the mother-daughter relationship that was only slowly developed throughout the rest of the film.
The bonding that occurs is an unexpected additive to the story line. But the relationship Willis develops suddenly with her daughter is a part of the story that helps define her character.
“Nights in Rodanthe” tries to represent a love story that can change the lives of two people, but its awkward moments take away from the emphasis it could have had.
Staff writer Kelly Bleck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.