** Warning: Contains spoilers! **
I've been looking forward to Nights in Rodanthe since I added it to my Blockbuster Online queue a couple months ago. While I've never read the book by Nicholas Sparks, my love of The Notebook gave me high hopes. Unfortunately, Nights in Rodanthe fell far short of my expectations.
Diane Lane stars as a mother of two who travels to the town of Rodanthe on North Carolina's Outer Banks to fill in as innkeeper at a remote bed and breakfast. Before she leaves, her (bastard) ex-husband tells her he wants to come back to her and the family, and she plans to use the weekend deciding how to respond. The inn has only one guest for the weekend, Richard Gere as a doctor with problems of his own who came to "talk to someone" before heading to South America. Friendship, and eventually more, bloom between the two as they battle a late season hurricane and help him resolve a problem from his past.
The setting is gorgeous, the leads are likable, and the story has promise, but somehow the movie never comes together. The romance develops quickly and feels superficial, and the scary-but-not-really-dangerous hurricane stretches credibility. The scenes with Scott Glenn are the most moving in the film, far surpassing the tearjerker ending that left me cold. Glenn's story felt sincere; the ending felt contrived and faintly manipulative. The movie hadn't managed to engage me with the characters and their love story enough for me to care. My main takeaway from the movie is that I need to plan a trip back to the Outer Banks.
My verdict: 4/10.