I have never been impressed with the novels of Nicholas Sparks, but for some reason when they reach the silver screen, I am always moved to tears as I watch the characters play out their parts. This happened once again when I viewed “Nights in Rodanthe.”
We are introduced first to Adrienne Willis (Diane Lane), who separated from her husband Jack (Christopher Meloni) because he had been unfaithful to her. He is now living with the other woman, and they share custody of their children Amanda (Mae Whitman) and Danny (Charlie Tahan). Amanda, a teenager, blamed her mother for the estrangement, causing a serious rift between the mother and daughter.
Diane Lane - Wikimedia
Jack arrived at Adrienne’s house to pick up the children. Adrienne has plans to help out her friend Jean (Viola Davis) by managing Jean’s bed-and-breakfast on the ocean at Outer Banks, North Carolina, in a little town called Rodanthe. While the children were getting ready, Jack told Adrienne that he would like to come back home, and declared that he still loved her. Adrienne, upset by the proposition, wondered if Jack’s new love had left him, precipitating this reversal. He asked her to consider it while she was away, and she agreed to do that, not wishing to discuss the issue at that time.
Upon reaching the Inn at Rodanthe, Adrienne and Jean spent a little time together before Jean had to take off. Upon hearing about Jack’s change of heart, Jean reminded Adrienne about Jack’s failings; in particular, Jack did not show up for Adrienne’s father’s funeral a short time ago. Jean obviously did not care for Jack, and felt free to warn her friend to be careful.
Richard Gere - Wikimedia
The Guest Arrives
Adrienne was not over-burdened at the Inn because there would be only one guest that weekend, Dr. Paul Flanner (Richard Gere). In bits and pieces, we learn that the husband (Scott Glenn) of one of Paul’s patients asked him to come to Rodanthe to discuss his wife’s death during surgery. Jill Torrelson wanted to have a benign tumor removed from her cheek because she felt that it made her less beautiful in her husband’s eyes. Robert, her husband, considered her beautiful, and did not encourage her to have the surgery. Nevertheless, she went ahead with it. Apparently, she had a problem with the anesthesia, and did not survive the surgery. The family was planning to sue Paul for malpractice, even though Paul knew that he had done everything correctly. Her pre-op examination uncovered no evidence that she could not tolerate the anesthesia.
Sharing Their Stories
A major storm is forecast and Adrienne, with the help of Paul, seal the building as much as possible, and settle in. Paul has long since abandoned his formal place in the dining room where Adrienne has served him, and prefers to sit in the kitchen with her so that he has someone to talk to. They share their backgrounds with each other. Adrienne opens up about her failed marriage. Paul reveals his true purpose for coming to Rodanthe. He also tells Adrienne about his son Mark (James Franco) who is also a surgeon. They have been somewhat estranged for about a year, he told her. Mark was his assistant in Paul’s surgical practice, and was present when Jill Torrelson died. Mark was not comfortable with the rigorous manner in which Paul conducted his work, and decided to start his own practice in a poor region in South America where he might come to know a deeper satisfaction in his work.
James Franco - Wikimedia
Adrienne and Paul both gained from sharing with each other. The next morning, he drove to see Robert Torrelson as he had been asked to do. On arriving there, Mr. Torrelson’s son Charlie told him to leave; he would not let Paul in the house. When Paul got in his car to leave, Charlie kicked the side of his car, causing a sizable dent. When he arrived at the Inn, Adrienne saw the frustration on his face, and was unable to console him at that point.
A Love Story Develops
Interestingly, the chemistry between Richard Gere and Diane Lane is palpable, which is not always the case with leading actors. It seemed logical then that Paul and Adrienne would be drawn together. And of course they were. The love scenes were not graphic; they were done very delicately, which is typical of a Nicholas Sparks creation, which always delivers a no nonsense approach.
It was Adrienne’s suggestion that Paul should visit the Torrelsons again. It was her feeling that Robert was looking for an apology, or at least some empathy, instead of the anger that Paul demonstrated at being sued. Adrienne went with him, stayed outside on the porch with Charlie, and Paul did indeed apologize to Robert, an act that was obviously heartfelt.
The storm eventually did come in and inflicted some damage on the Inn, but Paul and Adrienne were safe and were able to clean up most of the debris after the storm.
Paul Visits His Son in South America
When the weekend ended, Paul had already resolved to visit his son Mark in South America to heal their relationship and perhaps give him some help in his work. He and Adrienne wrote to each other sometimes daily, and found during that time that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. As noted, the chemistry between those two was unbelievably obvious.
My sense at this point in the story was frightening. How was this to end? So many other lives were involved. What we do know is that two lives were changed forever through their chance meeting. Paul, in particular, would never be the same.
I will not give away the ending. I will just repeat my statement that I am always moved to tears when Nicholas Sparks’ characters come to life on the screen.
The Inn at Rodanthe - Credit: Captain-tucker - Wikimedia
Interesting Facts About “Nights in Rodanthe”
Nicholas Sparks’ mother-in-law asked for one thing for Christmas from him. “Paul and I would like our names in one of your books.” That is how Paul and Adrienne became the names of the main characters in his novel, “Nights in Rodanthe.”
The Inn at Rodanthe, located in the village of Rodanthe on the Outer Banks of North Carolina was the site of the film “Nights in Rodanthe.” Over the years, storms, hurricanes, and soil erosion endangered the building as it was so close to the ocean, and did in fact end up partly under water. After the film was completed, a couple purchased the Inn and had it moved to another oceanfront lot just a short distance from the original site. The new owners of the Inn at Rodanthe have renovated both the exterior and the interior to resemble the way it appeared in the film.