I'm 29, and I have to admit, it was so refreshing seeing a beautifully told love story for people of an older generation. There seems to be this taboo surrounding it where, upon turning 40 or so, people no longer need to feel loved, and are no longer capable of experiencing love that gives you butterflies and knocks your feet from under you and leaves you poleaxed. This film puts paid to that in short order.
Nicholas Sparks is the father of romance - a lone male voice in amongst a sea of oestrogen - and he has a way of creating epic love that puts you right there with the people feeling it. Film adaptations don't really live up to the standard of the book (the only exception being, perhaps, The Notebook
another of Sparks's [a film of such power and beauty I don't even know the words to describe it]) but Nights in Rodanthe comes close - with one complaint.
Adrienne and Paul (Diane Lane and Richard Gere respectively, last seen together in Unfaithful
) fall in love over the space of a weekend while alone in an inn that sits right on the beach. The cinematography is *stunning*: it's all washed out blues and bleached skies; bleak foamy seas and desolate sand dunes and long peppermint grasses being whipped about by the wind. The world created is insular and beautiful and mirrors their loneliness, and as they hold onto each other mid-storm, you can certainly see how deeply romantic the it is.
Add to that, both characters are going through difficult times, and both desperately need to be brought back to life; they both need to meet someone they could love... and yet, somehow the chemistry isn't quite there. Equally, the film isn't long enough to really make the depth of their love credible. I absolutely believe we can fall in love quickly - instantly, even. But it takes time for that love to flourish and to put down roots, and Adrienne and Paul go from being strangers to soul-mates in the space of 20 minutes or so, as both the build-up and "epilogue" are lengthier.
Something else Nicholas Sparks is a master at is heart-rending finalés, and this is no different. When Paul leaves the inn to work with sick children in Southern America (with his estranged son, played by James Franco of Spiderman
fame) he and Arienne communicate by sending letters, and it's this old fashioned type of love that Sparks makes real. No emails or texts, no txt spk and "lols", but hand-written letters full of declarations and honesty. The problem is, this segment is done almost entirely in montage format so, again, it misses a huge (much needed) opportunity to drive home that these 2 people were created with the sole purpose of meeting and loving one another. Nevertheless, when tragedy strikes, it's genuinely painful, and the performances are completely mesmerising from everyone involved.
So while its power to affect is undeniable, and it's a gorgeous film to look at, the lack of exploration and depth means this is only a 4-star film where it so easily could have have been 5. But it is still highly recommended viewing - best watched with chocolates, girly friends and several boxes of tissues.