As you might've predicted, Nights in Rodanthe is a sentimental, non-threatening weepie that could have just as easily been made for TV and run on the Hallmark channel. The story is bland and yet sugar-saturated at the same time. It's tame, not too racy and it features unlayered characters. There’s redemption in the male character’s storyline and an awakening in the woman’s. It’s boring as all get-out sometimes, and tries its damndest to make you cry. So, in other words, it's your average Nicholas Sparks stuff.
Adrienne Willis (Diane Lane) separated from her husband after he cheated on her with her best friend. Paul Flanner (Richard Gere) is a doctor whose workaholic tendencies drove away his wife and son (played by James Franco). After a patient dies on his operating table, Paul travels to Rodanthe to meet with the patient's husband. He stays at the inn that Adrienne is running while her friend is away. There's a big storm that brings the two of them together, bada bing bada boom, they both learn how to love again. What follows is a string of scenes meant to be either heartwarming or heartbreaking, depending on Diane Lane's incredibly expressive face. For more of my thoughts on all this, read more.
All in all, it's sappy, cheesy stuff that doesn’t demand much of the viewer. There's an unnerving amount of time for your mind to wander, due to not being truly invested in these people or their stories. The editing is almost comically jerky. And James Franco is in it for maybe four minutes, total.
At the same time, I understand that movies like this serve a purpose. The only reason I watched A Walk to Remember was because I was with some older relatives and it was something we could all watch. This movie is in a very similar vein as A Walk to Remember, so I’m guessing that if you liked that one, you’ll like Rodanthe.
Photos courtesy of Warner Bros.