After spending the night at Rodanthe, I would rather revisit the Lake House or Il Mare, whichever version that floats your boat. But this is no time travel romance, but features a beach house that's architecturally pretty, a perfect setting for the lovebirds to roost in, in spite of a looming hurricane threatening to uproot their idyllic property.
This is a movie where its lead characters are given second chances with their romantic love life, as we observe how they make the best use of their limited one weekend with each other, finding some fascination in their discovery of the other party, before falling head over heels into the arms of the other. While the story might not be something to shout about, I thought the pairing of Diane Lane and Richard Gere (since unfaithful) worked wonders because of their chemistry, thus giving this movie an added gravitas, versus having some other unknown bear the weight of a generic story on their shoulders.
The narrative also made some time for the characters to deal with their respective demons, and responsibility in the minding of their children. For starters, Gere's Doctor Paul Flanner has to reach out and find out how to reconnect with his estranged son Mark (James Franco), while Lane's Adrienne has to convince her kids Amanda (Mae Whitman) and Danny (Charlie Tahan) that her not getting back together with their father is something that while personal, had undergone much thought with their well-being always on her mind. Such common ground in their attempts to foster a better relationship and bonding with their children, draws both Paul and Adrienne together.
I was wondering whether Richard Gere still had that magnetism to attract the teenage female crowd, judging from the numbers that turn out in droves to watch this, or the fact that romantic movies are targetting this demographics altogether. Then I realize, from the squeals of delight, that they'll probably go Richard-who, since the object of their affection was James Franco instead. With whatever little screen time he enjoyed here, you can detect audible fawning overs in sense-surround sound.
As with all romances, there are certain rules to abide by in attempts to conform and immortalize characters. It's no different here that there was the inevitable, but what I felt would have made the movie a little more powerful, was Paul's attempt to address the minute possiblity for a surgeon that an operation might go wrong. While it was used as a platform for Paul to rethink his approach to life, it certainnly could have been a lot better handled rather than being glossed over casually with a sweeping under the carpet approach.
Those who need your daily dose of romantic movies or typically safe date movies would find that Nights at Rodanthe would appeal as your choice at the movies this week. Despite the cliches used, you have two veterans who could turn it around into relative strength, and pull what would be a bad movie, into something more palatally average.