SHE OF THE ROMANTIC DRAMA
published September 26,
Nights in Rodanthe
now playing nationwide
As the brand-name middle-age romances of
the moment, “Diane Lane Movies” have one good thing going for them.
Diane Lane stars in all of them.
The torch has been passed down decade to
decade from Doris Day to Meg Ryan. But it’s a pleasure to have as rich an actress as Lane filling the niche for this space in time. Even
better, her reputation is built on making the most of less-than-first-rate material. That’s pretty darn essential for a puffy weepie like
Nights in Rodanthe, adapted from the Nicholas Sparks novel.
One thing is for sure, Diane Lane is now a
certifiable formula. Here’s a 10-point recipe. You take
1) a restless
single or divorced forty-ish beauty in need of a
reawakening, who leaves her home for a
picturesque vacation locale, where she is joined by
diversity-friendly best friend, and she meets
5) a successful,
attractive, stimulating love interest, an encounter that usually involves
6) fine wine
7) gourmet food
8) love letters,
errrr … oh, no no no no no, Wait! Not just love letters but
9) HANDWRITTEN love
Throw in an artist somewhere to remind us
of the richness of life and there you go.
That pretty much boils down Nights in Rodanthe. Lane plays a recently divorced mom with kids in need of a personal re-birth. For a week,
she takes over her friend’s bed and breakfast along the serene coast of North Carolina. There she strikes up a friendship (heh, heh, heh) with
the inn’s sole visitor, a surgeon operating on his own emotional wounds.
Gere and Lane have done this sort of thing
before. They possess a breezy, realistic chemistry that smoothes over some of Rodanthe’s swoonier
melodrama. Lane has that natural thing that makes you want the best for her, which you pretty much have to have to succeed in this sort of
thing. I like that she achieves this feeling without the need to pour out her sauce and play to the audience.
If a scientist wanted to conduct an
endurance tests for eye-rolling, he certainly could have caught the 2:45 show I attended. At the same time, even if I would have been a model
test subject – and I definitely would have been a model test subject – I recognize that this is a film that wants to be that way. I find it
impossible to punish a movie for being what it wants to be.
kevinbowen @ stageandcinema.com