Never do I admire the craft of acting more than when I see good actors giving everything they’ve got to make bad material work. It must take uncommon dedication to resist shredding the script into bitty pieces and stomping upon them screaming, “This is bullshit!”
In the case of Nights in Rodanthe, the hard-working actors are
Does it matter that no one in the galaxy talks the way the author’s characters do? Of course not, because
Nights in Rodanthe tells the story of Adrienne (Lane), a middle-aged mother of two whose husband left her for another woman but now wants to return. Adrienne decides to think it over during a trip to look after a beachfront inn in
The only guest at the inn that weekend is Paul Flanner (Gere), a wealthy dreamboat doctor with a troubled past. Having just left his marriage and sold his house, Paul has come to coastal Rodanthe to talk to an old man named Torrelson (Scott Glenn), who is suing Paul over the death of his wife on his operating table.
Paul continues on his path of redemption by joining his noble doctor son working in a clinic in
Sparks’ novel tells its drippy tale in flashback, but screenwriters Ann Peacock and Joe Romano have set the story in the present, making it even less interesting, if that’s possible. What’s remarkable about the movie is the gulf between the skill of cast and crew and the banality of the material. It is the screen debut of the esteemed African-American theater director George C. Wolfe, who seems to have tried to make something lovely of the story, gracing it with a nicely windswept atmosphere, fine vintage music (Count Basie, Dinah Washington) and a grandiose hurricane scene that looks like something from a monster movie. But, like that precariously perched inn on sticks, these efforts are inadequate to defend against the gale-force winds of Sparks schmaltz.
Originally published in the Cleveland Scene. Visit them here.