An unhappily married woman (Diane Lane) and a conflicted plastic surgeon (Richard Gere) are drawn together by a storm in the tiny coastal town on Hatteras Island along the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Gere and Lane, who previously played a married couple in "Unfaithful," are reunited in this screen adaptation of the best-selling novel by Nicholas Sparks ("The Notebook" and "Message in a Bottle").
This is the most romantic movie of the year. You almost want to watch it by candlelight while drinking a bottle of wine.
These two middle-aged people act like teenagers discovering first love. The mood is set when they are alone for the weekend at an isolated inn on the beach.
Adrienne (Lane) is the hostess in charge of running the place while her best friend Jean (Viola Davis) goes to a convention in Miami. Paul (Gere) is the only guest assigned to lodging quarters in the Blue Room. His anticipated stay is for four nights. Adrienne is trying to decide whether to take her adulterous husband back, since it would return a state of normalcy to the household for her two children. Paul wants to make amends with a former patientís husband. He does his best to lend an understanding ear to Robert (Scott Glenn), the bitter and grieving spouse who lost his wife of 43 years on Paulís operating table and filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
Paul also needs to reconcile with his estranged son Mark (James Franco), who is a running a clinic for underprivileged children in a Third World country.
On the second day at Rodanthe, a hurricane warning is issued by the Coast Guard. When the storm finally hits, the sound and special effects seem so real. You anticipate Adrienne and Paulís first embrace and passionate kiss. Their initial sexual liaison is over in the blink of an eye.
Gere delivers the best line of the movie the next day when he says, "Your man is a fool not to realize how incredibly lucky he is to have you." After a barefoot walk on the beach the next day and an evening clam party hoedown, they are in each otherís arms again. An extended tender lovemaking session with beautiful background music begins with a definite finalist for best screen kiss of 2008.
Their unforgettable brief weekend fling is a dreamy romantic getaway from reality reminiscent of "The Bridges of Madison County" and "The Horse Whisperer." Their second chance at love proceeds with an exchange of a series of love letters.
The movie is never predictable and has a surprise tearjerker ending.
Gere and Lane have great onscreen chemistry and make an attractive and appealing middle-aged couple. She glows and he radiates charm. The beautiful Lane is so natural and displays a wide range of emotions. Women can hail the way she has made aging gracefully such a turn-on. Gere has never looked so handsome and will have the women in the audience swooning.
The movieís other strengths are a wonderful soundtrack, spectacular cinematography and a very scenic beachfront landscape. This sentimental melodrama never drags with a swift running time of 97 minutes.
Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"