Nights in Rodanthe

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: +2

Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Scott Glenn, Christopher Meloni, Viola Davis. Romantic Drama. Written by Ann Peacock and John Romano. Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks. Producer: Denise Di Novi. Directed by George C. Wolfe.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Adrienne Willis (Diane Lane), a woman with her life in chaos, retreats to the tiny coastal town of Rodanthe, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to tend to a friends inn for the weekend. Here she hopes to find the tranquility she so desperately needs to rethink the conflicts surrounding hera wayward husband who has asked to come home, and a teenaged daughter who resents her every decision. Almost as soon as Adrienne gets to Rodanthe, a major storm is forecast and Dr. Paul Flanner (Richard Gere) arrives. The only guest at the inn, Flanner is not on a weekend escape but rather is there to face his own crisis of conscience. Now, with the storm closing in, the two turn to each other for comfort and, in one magical weekend, set in motion a life-changing romance that will resonate throughout the rest of their lives.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Technically, the lady is committing adultery. She is not yet divorced from her husband. But wait, let me throw this out. We learn that her husband cheated on her and walked out on the marriage and their kids. Yet, because of the kids, she has hesitated to divorce him. It isnt until she finally realizes that the trust in and the love for this man are gone, that she decides to end the marriage. Shes hurt and theres that void in her life that only a husband and wife can fill. I dont know about you, but I tend to think that since her husband had left her for another woman, she has the right to start anew. Maybe Im wrong, but I think thats biblical.

Ive said that because I suspect some might squirm in their seats when seeing the female lead sharing tender moments with this new man in her life. Of course, they do share more than tender moments. They consummate their passion one stormy night. Because they are not married, this may cause those same viewers to squirm again. Well, Ive done my part, Ive warned the seat squirmers. But before you decide to pass on this film, squirmers, I think you might be missing the bigger picture if you dismiss this film as merely an exploitive Hollywood melodrama.

Author N. Sparks (The Notebook, A Walk To Remember, Message in a Bottle), renowned for incorporating spiritual matters within his stories, has these two main characters finding a form of redemption. Both have been shackled by guilt. During the story they discover that self-blame has hindered their growth as people and kept them from finding forgiveness. By films end, Diane Lanes Adrienne has released her inner anger and rediscovered her potential. And Geres character begins to care for others. Until this point, he has wanted to be the best doctor he could be and has done so at the expense of his relationship with his family, as well as his lack of caring for others. His new love has awakened this resolve, to reach out, to understand others, and to get involved emotionally.

The film has a Love Story-type ending. By that I mean the packing of Kleenex is essential for most women and many of us men. Hey, John Wayne would have teared up over this one.

About the leads. Ms. Lane is the stronger of the two when it comes to emotional expression, but Mr. Gere is no slouch. He gives it his all. And its a pleasure to view a film starring two people in mid-life rather than mid-high school. If you have to grow old, Im envious of the way these two stars are doing it.

Its a potent drama, one with substance. Still, allow me to suggest the bestest romantic adventure of all time with my DVD alternative: Casablanca. Okay, weve all seen it. But I cant think of a better love story where doing whats right wins out over self-fulfillment. I have always considered Citizen Kane the one flawless film, but after a recent viewing of Rick & Elsa's great love story, I've capitulated Casablanca truly reigns as the greatest motion picture of all time. (I'm a man of definite opinions as you have gathered.) But I cannot find a false or ineffective camera angle, line or performance in the entire production. Love, honor and patriotism prevail.

But Phil, who stars in it?

Oh, please.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Warner Bros. / Village Roadshow

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Two obscenities by the male lead, a teenage girl yells the s-word at her mother; expressing his frustration; a couple of minor expletives.

Profanity: None

Violence: A storm becomes somewhat frightening, but is employed as symbolism concerning the leads stress-filled situations and their growing attraction; a death occurs off screen.

Sex: We see the couple unbuttoning each others shirts, kissing, and later in bed, but the sexual situations are handled with discretion.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: The couple drink wine with their meals; after a stressful experience, they each partake of Jack Daniels; we assume they got drunk for the next morning they each suffer from a slight hangover.

Other: None of the content is meant to be exploitive. Language, sexuality and a tragedy have been allowed in order to further develop the lead characters and to present a relatable realism. As for the teenagers rebellious and unloving attitude towards her mother this changes by films end.

Running Time: 97 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Above

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.