Romantic plot confuses audiences

Shannon Cunnien

Nights in Rodanthe is a “might be better the second time” kind of film. The movie’s main setting is a creaky, old, inn with bright blue shutters and doors located in Rodanthe where the two main characters, Adrienne Willis (Diane Lane) and Dr. Paul Flanner (Richard Gere), meet and fall in love: a love that is unreal in the negative sense.

The film, directed by George C. Wolfe and based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks (the same writer as for The Notebook), involves randomly sharp cuts and an at times confusing plot–by the end, you feel as if nothing has happened. Plot twists are presented and need to be explained over and over in order to be understood. It’s a jumble of imperfect entities that could have very well made a decent film but somehow fell flat.

An upside of the film is the innate chemistry between Richard Gere’s and Diane Lane’s characters. Adrienne (Lane) is an artist-housewife, recently separated from her husband, taking care of her friend Jean’s (Viola Davis) old inn for a favor. Paul (Gere) is a surgeon who initially seems to be escaping his life when he is actually there in Rodanthe to try to fix it. His life ends up becoming more “fixed” than he ever imagined when he meets Adrienne (Lane). As expected in a film such as this, the two main characters are stuck in a small space completely alone and fall hopelessly in love–a love attempting but failing to mimic the love seen and felt in The Notebook.

Though the two have chemistry it’s completely random when Adrienne (Lane) and Paul (Gere) fall in love. They are simple acquaintances one moment and madly in love the next; in Rodanthe’s plot it’s all too sudden and all too obvious. Each of the two main characters have their moments where they are freaking out and throwing away decade old food in one scene to romantically flirting in the next–it never makes much sense. The film even failed at being a parody of the romantic genre.

The inexperience of novice director George C. Wolfe is clearly shown in the film. The actors were not pushed to develop their characters and the emotions they feel. Simple errors were made that became obvious during the film.

Most of the errors involved the conveniently timed hurricane which came while Paul (Gere) and Adrienne (Lane) were staying in Rodanthe. The old inn is located directly on the beach of the ocean, but strangely the inn is neither destroyed nor flooded when the hurricane comes in full force (at least the power realistically went out). The next day, after the storm has passed, Paul (Gere) goes outside to get into his perfectly clean, undamaged car that was sitting behind the garage-less inn all night. Simple errors such as this throw the film off and distract the viewer from the actual plot.

Between the mix of jumpy scenes, simple errors, and a “did anything happen?” plot, Nights in Rodanthe is a film better watched on TV twice.