Nights in Rondanthe

October 13, 2008 by  
Filed under Suzie's Movies

What’s it about? –  A successful surgeon botches a usually simple operation that results in the death of his patient. He later visits his patient’s widower in an attempt to offer some closure to the difficult situation. While there he stays at a bed and breakfast where he meets an unhappily married young woman. She’s there to get away and help clear her own head. Along the way he finds other aspects of his life where he feels he must redeem himself. In the process, love grows and flourishes between the characters only to be met with more trials and disappointments.

(Heavy sigh) Did you ever hear people express disappointment in some of their friends or relatives? Those times when they say things like, ” I don’t know what went wrong; he/she had so much going for them! Loving parents, the best schools, a good job , but still…. they held up the bank,  shot up the town, captured and cannibalized a litter a of puppies, and wrote dirty graffiti on the church wall.” Yeah. That’s how I feel about this movie. Puzzled disappointment.

Nights in Rodanthe started out with so much promise. It stars Richard Gere and Diane Lane in the main character roles.  You’d think that would be  plenty of star power to make a movie fly. Next were the writing skills of Ann Peacock and John Romano. John Romano has written for a wide variety of popular television shows. Everything from ALF, Hillstreet Blues, LA Law to Monk.  Next we have one of Kentucky’s own, George C. Wolfe,  as director. He’s from Kentucky so we want him to be good right?  Finally, the story takes place in the outer banks of the Carolinas so somehow it’s got to at least look good. Well it did. It looked beautiful. At that’s almost all it has to offer. What went wrong?

Let’s start with performances. Richard Gere, (Gosh he was sexy in American Gigolo and so cool in Chicago!),absolutely hacked his way through the movie. I never bought into the sincerity of his character and apparently, judging by the assorted “What?”s  and  “Oh yeah right!”s heard throughout the movie from the audience, neither did anybody else. At one point Gere breaks into tears and I found myself thinking, “When did you get this bad?!”

Then there’s Diane Lane. I like her, she’s so sweet and clever. She makes it OK for women to be smart without seeming ‘crafty’. Unfortunately, in this movie, she brings us nothing new. Just the same, overwrought “I Don’t Know How Much More Of This I Can Take” persona.  I never warmed to her or was able to generate any sympathy for her plight. I did find it interesting that Ms. Lane has found some way to convey whining and hand wringing without actually doing or saying anything. Like I said, she’s clever!

All in all, the movie failed because the audience was never really captured  by the characters, the actors’ performances, or the dialogue. There was one bright and shining exception however. Scott Glenn (remember him from  Silverado and Silence of the Lambs ? ) plays the widower of Gere’s patient. Glenn’s performance is beautiful. Even though his screen time and dialogue is limited, Glenn brings to the screen all the heartache and anguish that an elderly widower might suffer. It was here that the audience openly wept.

So, if you must go because your significant other wants to see something romantic, you can at least enjoy Scott Glenn and the scenery of the beautiful outer banks of the Carolina and maybe catch some Zs. Personally, I think a better idea is popcorn at home on the couch watching  The Notebook on DVD again.
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