Stage and Cinema film and theatre reviews
 

 

SHE OF THE ROMANTIC DRAMA

 

picture - Nights in RodantheMovie Review

by Kevin Bowen

published September 26, 2008

 

Nights in Rodanthe

rated PG-13

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

2)     personal reawakening, who leaves her home for a

3)     remote, picturesque vacation locale, where she is joined by

4)     a diversity-friendly best friend, and she meets

5)     a successful, attractive, stimulating love interest, an encounter that usually involves

6)     fine wine and

7)     gourmet food and

8)     love letters, errrr … oh, no no no no no, Wait! Not just love letters but

9)     HANDWRITTEN love letters!

 

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

 

 
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