“Nights in Roadanthe”
Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Scott Glenn, Christopher Meloni, Viola Davis, Becky Ann Baker, Charlie Tahan, Carolyn McCormick
Calling all Nicholas Sparks fans! The author of The Notebook has once again brought us a romantic tearjerker in the film based on the book, Nights in Roadanthe.
For those of us who bypassed reading the book, here is the storyline: Adrienne Willis (the beautiful Diane Lane) is at the heart of this love story. The other part of this romance is in the character of Dr. Paul Flanner (handsome Richard Gere).
Adrienne, is a woman facing many emotional challenges in her life. Her husband (Christopher Meloni, “Law and Order: SVU”) is a man who has ignored his wife and family and had an affair with another woman. He is living separately from the family — yet remains present in his children’s lives.
Our story begins with Adrienne dreaming of memories from her childhood with her beloved father at the beach. Abruptly, the alarm clock awakens her to reality. Her life seems filled with moving from one parental obligation to another while neglecting her own personal needs.
Her two children are spending a week with their father on vacation. Ever the responsible person — Adrienne had agreed to act as hostess for her best friend’s bed and breakfast house on the beach. Although it’s empty with the off-season, one customer (Gere) desperately needs a place to stay.
Gere plays the loner with dark issues. He is estranged from his only child. He is immune to the pain afflicted to the grieving family of a patient he lost. His life has been consumed by his career.
The dynamics are the same as any of Nicholas Sparks’ romances: there is the story of the characters first meeting, the aloof male, the tentatively independent female character. Both characters are always attractive, and their circumstances manage to reveal their insecurities, deny their neediness and celebrate the discovery in finding their long-awaited soul mate in the heart of each other.
Having this scenario played out in a stunning, ocean-view bed and breakfast inn with a story that draws us into the emotional conflicts of two lovers — I ask how can we not feel manipulated by this saccharine plot?
As an author, Spark creates a successful formula story including one-dimensional characters in lofty, romantic surroundings. And there lies my complaint. All of these elements give a contrived feel to this film. It was as if all these factors served to manipulate the romance and our emotions.
I would have rated this film three stars for its complicity to deferring to popular stereotypes. Yet, I was with my girl friend who absolutely loved this film and said, “What’s wrong with a ‘formula’ love story? Every once in awhile a sappy love story is good for the soul!”
So in honor of all lovesick romantics, this movie is rated:
Chic Stars: Four Chic Stars
Jan’s Movie Rating System:
5 – Top-notch entertainment
4 – Compelling, Heartwarming, Thrilling, Comical
3 – The a) story b) actors c) special effects saved/made this movie.
2 – If you are bored, watch it, or wait for DVD
1 – Don’t bother. Too morose, too violent, too blasè, an enigma.
Photo: Courtesy of Nightsinrodanthe.warnerbros.com