Posted: 10/06/2008


Nights in Rodanthe


by Laura Tucker

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Sometimes people just need to get away to think, to remove themselves from their whole life. It’s hard to sort things out and prioritize when you’re still in the thick of the whole mess. Nights In Rodanthe is a story of two people who meet while they are both in desperate need to escape and sort it all out.

Adrienne (Diane Lane) has been separated from her husband, Jack (Christopher Meloni), for seven months, when he left to go live with another woman, an acquaintance of hers. All this time she’s been managing her two kids alone, including her teenage daughter (Mae Whitman), forcing Adrienne to “out-attitude her attitude.” Anyone with teenagers understands that one.

When Jack comes to pick up the kids for a long weekend, he springs it on her that he wants to come back home. Adrienne is definitely confused, not knowing if he’s really still in love with her or whether it’s just over with the other woman, making her feel like second best. It would definitely make things easier for her for right now, but she needs to decide if this is what she really wants.

Telling Jack she needs some time to sort it all out, Adrienne heads to North Carolina where she is going to watch the inn her friend, Jean (Viola Davis), owns and manages. It’s a gorgeous building that tells you with just one passing glance that it’s full of history. Before Jean heads out of town for her own escape, Adrienne shares with her that Jack wants to come back. The smart woman that Jean is, she asks where Jack was when Adrienne’s father died a few months back, especially since her father had been very good to Jack.

A hurricane is headed towards the coast, and Jean was going to close down the inn, but she had a man call at the last minute and request a room, and she just couldn’t turn him down. The man arrives full of mystery. Dr. Paul Flanner (Richard Gere) refuses to put an address down in the sign in book and seems more intent on sitting in his room than enjoying the view.

When Paul leaves to go attend to an errand, Adrienne can’t resist while in his room to clean and snoops a little, seeing a picture of him with his son, and finding a letter sent to him from a man that lives nearby discussing a need to meet. She realizes this is what he meant when he said he came here to talk to someone. It wasn’t talking to a person in general, but a specific person.

Once the hurricane is too impending to ignore, Adrienne and Paul shutter up the inn and figure they’ll wait it out. Both learn the reasons the other is escaping and are brought closer together. Neither came to find love, both wanting to get away, and they struggle to figure out whether being with each other now is because of their need to escape their lives, something only brought out by their desperateness, or whether they really could build a future together.

Nights In Rodanthe is Richard Gere and Diane Lane’s third movie together, leading to an atmosphere of being totally comfortable, which certainly helps their characters. Between that and the nice easy music, it was hard not to be drawn in completely to this storyline, based on the book by Nicholas Sparks. I’m a person that easily cries in movies anyway, but by the end of this one, I was absolutely sobbing, reminding me of two old favorites of mine, Purple Hearts and Windy City. I expected to like this movie, but not be so totally taken in by it.

Laura Tucker is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints and Reality Shack, and operates a TV blog, What’s Hot On TV. She is also an Associate Instructor and 1st dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts.

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