The sparks between Richard Gere and Diane Lane--so memorable in Unfaithful
--smolder again in the sweepingly romantic Nights in Rodanthe
. Based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, the film is unapologetically sentimental, and enjoyable completely on its own terms, a small gem of an escape, complete with storm-tossed coastline. Lane plays Adrienne, a wronged wife whose husband (Christopher Meloni) was a heel, but begs for another chance. She goes to clear her head at a remote North Carolina inn, where the sole occupant is Paul, a doctor, played by Gere, who is battling his own demons. If the writing is on the wall about what will become of our two leading actors, it's to Lane's and Gere's deep credit that they make their tentative connection, wariness, and growing feelings human and quite believable. Love is messy, and grownup love, even more so. As they get to know each other, Adrienne shows Paul a small wooden box that holds her keepsakes: "I made it to keep special things safe." Paul turns to her, looking her squarely but gently in the eye, and says, "What keeps you safe?" At that moment, every woman watching the film is in the palm of his hand. The film squarely addresses the reality that people over age 25 do, in fact, yearn for, and find, love. If only more studios would realise the deep, appreciative audience for films like this. --A.T. Hurley
In Nights in Rodanthe
, Oscar nominee Diane Lane stars as Adrienne Willis, a woman with her life in chaos, who retreats to the tiny coastal town of Rodanthe, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to tend to a friend's inn for the weekend. Here she hopes to find the tranquility she so desperately needs to rethink the conflicts surrounding her-- a wayward husband who has asked to come home, and a teenage daughter who resents her every decision. Almost as soon as Adrienne gets to Rodanthe, a major storm is forecast and a guest named 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.