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NIGHTS IN RODANTHE, 2008
Movie Reviews!

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NIGHTS IN RODANTHE
Movie Review
Directed by George C. Wolfe
Starring Diane Lane, Richard Gere
Review by Eli Manning



SYNOPSIS:

A doctor (Gere) who is traveling to see his estranged son sparks with an unhappily married woman (Lane) at a North Carolina inn.

REVIEW:

A neighbor of mine who knew I just attended the Nights in Rodanthe screening, approached me before I entered my home, and wanted to know just one thing. Did I cry?

Near the end of the film, I looked around the screening room and didn't see a dry eye in the house. Woman and men were sobbing, some uncontrollably. I was dry until one of the final scenes in the movie where they finally got me. Then I did indeed cry and joined the group.

How did they get me? It was not the romantic relationship between Lane and Gere, but the mother/daughter relationship in the film. There was a special talk between them that I thought was so unique, I couldn't help but weep uncontrollably.

If only that was the key storyline in the film.

Nights in Rodanthe reunites Diane Lane and Richard Gere. We last saw them together in the underrated 'Unfaithful', where Lane pulled of one of the best performances on screen in the last 25 years.

This film struggled to find its voice. It's filled with many character conflicts that we've seen time and time again. Sometimes in movies you don't care about that because you're so into the characters and relationships that are developing, but Nights in Rodanthe has a really rough first half. We get it that these two characters are going to hook up, so we're now watching to see how they do and then see where they go from there. But if you don't give us something interesting in the hook up, then we don't care about the aftermath.

Another interesting directorial choice they made was to not really show us the unique house they were staying at. Yes, there was helicopter wrap around shot of the exterior of the ocean home, but we never got to know the inside walls. The house should of been its own character, the place where an epic romance happens.

All we get in Nights in Rodanthe is they talk, they kiss, they help each other with a conflict, and then they fall in love. There needed to be more. And the dialogue exchanges had to be the worst I've remembered in recent memory. This is unacceptable because dialogue is something that can easily be fixed in the film-making process. There are two core stages (development, pre-production) before the camera even begins rolling, so how did this core mistake happen?

What keeps this movie somewhat together are the performances from the two leads. Two people who obviously know what they're doing. And two people who obviously have a great on-screen connection. I'm sure this won't be the last Lane/Gere team-up in a film.

And yes, I did cry at the end of Nights of Rodanthe, but admittingly, I have cried at a lot of movies, so it's not really saying much. And I think I cried for the reason they didn't want me to cry. I just saw a tender moment on-screen performed by two actresses in different generations that was probably not even the writer's or director's intention, but just the great ability by the actor's who performed those roles.

This film manipulates the tears in the easiest way possible. Fim-making 101 teaches any filmmaker that if you have a shot of a moving car, then cut to a cat on the street, then cut to the moving car driving in the same place the cat was, then cut to a dead cat, you're going to cause a emotional reaction from the audience. And if we got to know this cat during the film, then the audience will begin to cry.

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There is real crying in movies and manipulated crying in movies and Nights of Rodanthe is easy crying. A better film mixes the emotions in a more complex fashion to evoke feelings from people in different ways. This film only evokes feelings in people one way. And it's a way any moron can do.

So if you're interested in seeing a lazy romantic movie, then go see Nights of Rodanthe. But Hollywood can and should do a whole lot better than this. Especially with an actor like Diane Lane slated to perform your movie. Didn't you see her in 'Unfaithful'. This is a woman who can go places in the inner human psychie and present it to the world on screen like no other actor working today. Giving her a script to perform like this film is like getting a world renowned Chef to wash dishes in the kitchen.

1 1/2 stars out of 4!center>

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