Movie Reviews by Michael Phillips
Richard Gere & Diane Lane star in "Nights in Rodanthe"
"Nights in Rodanthe" starring Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Scott Glenn, Christopher Meloni, Viola Davis.
The celebrated theater director and playwright George C. Wolfe has spearheaded some dazzlingly cinematic works for the stage, including the musicals "Jelly's Last Jam" and "Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk" -- fluid, provocative, terrific shows.
Now in his feature film directorial debut, Wolfe has brought in 'da hunk of cheese known as "Nights in Rodanthe." And the comparative savvy that Wolfe showed in HBO's stage-to-TV transfer of "Lackawanna Blues" has gone missing.
To be fair, the material's something that got spritzed out of a can all over the paperback best-seller lists.
The feather-light romance by novelist Nicholas Sparks ("Message in a Bottle," "The Notebook"), adapted by Ann Peacock and John Romano, is designed to attract good-looking film actors of a certain age.
All the better if they can act! Or even interact. Diane Lane can, and does. Richard Gere -- sometimes. As skillful and charismatic as Gere is, I never get the sense he's really in there, conversing with his fellow actor.
He seems most at home when he can revert to non-verbal, emotionally wounded reaction shots: hurt look, followed by glance away, followed by lip quiver, or defensive, squinty smile.
Diane Lane, like Richard Gere and every other actor on the planet, has her own habits to guard against. She does a lot -- too much, sometimes -- from the neck up. But in recent years, especially since "Unfaithful," which co-starred Gere, she has grown into a formidable presence, sensual, complicated but not vampy. Way back in "The Cotton Club," she and Gere were stuck playing arch jazz babies, and they couldn't seem to fill out their roles in an easy way. In "Nights in Rodanthe," at least, they do.
Recently separated Adrienne (Diane Lane) leaves her kids with her ex and heads to the scenic coastal burg of Rodanthe, N.C., where her pal (Viola Davis) owns the most picturesque inn with the most beautiful blue shutters you can imagine. Adrienne's there alone, to think and prepare the inn for an incoming nor'easter. But the sole scheduled visitor arrives: Dr. Paul Flanner (Richard Gere), who recently lost a patient during a routine operation and has come to Rodanthe to make amends with the dead woman's grieving widower (Scott Glenn).
Love blooms for Adrienne and Paul, while the hurricane brews, and the story eventually settles into a series of passionate letters to and from our grateful lovers. Few writers alive are more devoted to epistolary porn -- emotional porn, that is; nothing too sexual on this stretch of beach -- than Sparks. And this sort of thing can work: "The Notebook" certainly found its audience on-screen. And look at "The Bridges of Madison County." Worst book ever written; the film basically ignored it altogether, and it turned out amazingly well.
Wolfe has brought some of his best theatrical colleagues to this project, including Davis and composer Jeanine Tesori (who wrote the music for "Caroline, or Change," which Wolfe directed in New York). But after a while all the voice-overs tend to sound like "Was it the storm? The wine? The way you looked at me?" And the editing by Brian A. Kates is exceedingly jumpy, as if determined to get through each exchange as quickly as possible.
Nights in Rodanthe
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for some sensuality).
Running time: 1:37.
Starring: Richard Gere (Paul); Diane Lane (Adrienne); Scott Glenn (Robert Torrelson); Christopher Meloni (Jack); Viola Davis (Jean).
Directed by George C. Wolfe; written by Ann Peacock and John Romano, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks; photographed by Affonso Beato; edited by Brian A. Kates; production designed by Patrizia von Brandenstein; music by Jeanine Tesori; produced by Denise Di Novi. A Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Nights in Rodanthe Movie Trailer
Adrienne Willis (Diane Lane) is a woman with her life in chaos, who retreats to the tiny coastal town of Rodanthe in the Outer Banks of North Carolina to tend to a friend’s inn for the weekend. Here she hopes to find the tranquility she so desperately needs to rethink the conflicts surrounding her—a wayward husband who has asked to come home, and a teenaged daughter who resents her every decision. Almost as soon as Adrienne gets to Rodanthe, a major storm is forecast and Dr. Paul Flanner (Richard Gere) arrives. The only guest at the inn, Flanner is not on a weekend escape but rather is there to face his own crisis of conscience. Now, with the storm closing in, the two turn to each other for comfort and, in one magical weekend, set in motion a life-changing romance that will resonate throughout the rest of their lives.
About "Nights in Rodanthe" the Movie
Nights in Rodanthe Movie Production Notes, Synopsis, About the Movie, About the Cast
Richard Gere and Diane Lane reunite on screen in the romantic drama "Nights in Rodanthe," based on the Nicholas Sparks best-selling novel about two people who discover there is always a second chance to find the love of your life. Adrienne (Diane Lane), a woman still reeling from her husband's betrayal and struggling to rebuild a life without him, has just learned that he wants to come home. Torn by conflicting feelings, she welcomes the chance for escape when an old friend asks her to manage her inn in Rodanthe for a weekend. There, on a remote spot along the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Adrienne hopes to find the tranquility she needs to rethink her life.
It's the off-season and the inn would be shuttered but for the unlikely arrival of its solitary guest, Paul (Richard Gere), a doctor from the city. A man who long ago sacrificed his family to his career, Paul has come to Rodanthe to fulfill a difficult obligation and to face his own crisis of conscience.
They are two strangers sharing the same roof. But as a major storm closes in, they turn to each other for comfort, and set in motion a life-changing romance that will resonate through the rest of their lives.
Warner Bros. Picture Presents, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a Di Novi Pictures Production: the romantic drama "Nights in Rodanthe," starring Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Scott Glenn, Christopher Meloni and Viola Davis.
The film is directed by George C. Wolfe from a screenplay by Ann Peacock and John Romano, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks. It is produced by Denise Di Novi. Doug Claybourne, Alison Greenspan, Dana Goldberg and Bruce Berman serve as executive producers.
The creative team includes director of photography Affonso Beato, production designer Patrizia von Brandenstein, and editor Brian A. Kates. Music is by Jeanine Tesori.
About the Cast "Nights in Rodanthe"
RICHARD GERE (Paul) won a Golden Globe Award for his performance opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger in the 2002 Oscar-winning musical hit "Chicago." He also shared in a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award® for Outstanding Cast Performance and earned a SAG Award® nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Billy Flynn. Gere has also graced the screen in such memorable hits as "Unfaithful," "Primal Fear," "Pretty Woman," "An Officer and a Gentleman," "American Gigolo" and "Days of Heaven."
Gere will next be seen in Lasse Hallström's family drama "Hachiko: A Dog's Story," a remake of the 1987 Japanese classic based on the true story of a college professor who forms a bond with an abandoned dog. Projects set for a 2009 release include the Mira Nair-directed biopic "Amelia," about Amelia Earhart, in which he stars with Hilary Swank and Ewan McGregor; and Antoine Fuqua's "Brooklyn's Finest," on which he is now in production alongside Don Cheadle and Ethan Hawke.
In 2007, Gere joined an ensemble cast in Todd Haynes' critically acclaimed film "I'm Not There," about the life and songs of Bob Dylan, for which he shared in a Robert Altman Award at the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards. In addition, he recently starred in Lasse Hallström's "The Hoax" and Richard Shepard's "The Hunting Party." His feature credits also include the indie film "Bee Season" and "Shall We Dance?" with Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon. In 2002, Gere starred in Adrian Lyne's thriller "Unfaithful," opposite Diane Lane, and the psychological drama "The Mothman Prophecies." Born in Philadelphia, Gere began his acting career on the stage when he landed the lead role of Danny Zuko in the London production of "Grease" in 1973. After seasons with the Provincetown Playhouse and Seattle Repertory Theatre, he performed in numerous plays in New York, notably as the lead in Richard Farina's "Long Time Coming and a Long Time Gone," and Sam Shepard's "Back Bog Beast Bait" and "Killer's Head," before making his Broadway debut in the rock opera "Soon." His additional theatre credits include the New York production of "Habeas Corpus," the Lincoln Center presentation of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and the London Young Vic Theatre production of "The Taming of the Shrew." In 1980, he returned to Broadway to star in "Bent," winning the Theatre World Award for his portrayal of a homosexual concentration camp prisoner.
On the big screen, Gere first gained attention for his roles in the thriller "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" and Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven," for which he won an Italian David di Donatello Award. His early film credits also include "Bloodbrothers," John Schlesinger's "Yanks," "American Gigolo" and the 1982 romantic blockbuster "An Officer and a Gentleman," which brought Gere his first Golden Globe nomination. He subsequently starred in "Breathless," "Beyond the Limit," "The Cotton Club," "Power," "No Mercy" and "Miles from Home."
In 1990, Gere won acclaim for his portrayal of a corrupt cop in "Internal Affairs" and then starred opposite Julia Roberts in Garry Marshall's smash hit romantic comedy "Pretty Woman," for which he earned his second Golden Globe nomination. His additional film credits include Akira Kurosawa's "Rhapsody in August"; Jon Avnet's "Red Corner"; Michael Caton-Jones' "The Jackal"; Garry Marshall's box-office hit "Runaway Bride," reuniting him with Julia Roberts; and Robert Altman's "Dr. T and the Women." Gere also served as an executive producer on three of his films: "Final Analysis," "Mr. Jones" and "Sommersby."
On television, Gere earned an Emmy nomination for his role in "And The Band Played On," the HBO adaptation of Randy Shilts' book about the early days of the AIDS epidemic in America. Additionally, Gere is an accomplished pianist and composer.
A student and friend of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Gere has made numerous journeys throughout India, Nepal, Zanskar and Tibet, Mongolia and China in the past 20 years, often applying his talent as a photographer. His book of photos, Pilgrim (1997, Little, Brown and Company), is a collection of images that represent his 25-year journey into Buddhism, with a foreword by the Dalai Lama. An outspoken human rights advocate, he is the founder of The Gere Foundation, which contributes directly to numerous health education and human rights projects and is especially dedicated to promoting awareness of Tibet and its endangered culture. In 1987, he was the founding chairman of the Tibet House in New York. He subsequently became an active member of the Board of Directors of the International Campaign for Tibet in Washington D.C., and in 1996 became its Chairman. Gere has testified on Tibet's behalf before the U.S. Congress, the European Parliament, and House International Operations and Human Rights Subcommittee.
DIANE LANE (Adrienne) earned SAG®, Golden Globe and Oscar nominations, and was hailed Best Actress by the New York Film Critics and National Society of Film Critics for her turn as an adulterous wife in the critically acclaimed 2002 Adrian Lyne film "Unfaithful."
One of the industry's premiere talents, Lane has top-lined a diverse slate of both independent and major studio releases, helmed by some of the world's most renowned directors. Her filmography includes the acclaimed Francis Ford Coppola films "The Outsiders," "Rumble Fish" and "The Cotton Club." Additional feature film credits include Gregory Hoblit's recent thriller "Untraceable"; John Madden's "Killshot"; Doug Liman's "Jumper"; Allen Coulter's period piece "Hollywoodland," with Ben Affleck and Adrien Brody; "Must Love Dogs," with John Cusack; the drama "A Walk on the Moon," which landed Lane an Independent Spirit Award nomination; the Audrey Wells romantic comedy "Under the Tuscan Sun," which resulted in a Golden Globe nomination; Wolfgang Petersen's action drama "The Perfect Storm," with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg; the highly successful adaptation of Willie Morris' childhood memoir "My Dog Skip"; the critically acclaimed independent feature "My New Gun"; "Hardball," opposite Keanu Reeves; her portrayal of actress Paulette Goddard in "Chaplin," for director Sir Richard Attenborough; Peter Masterson's independent drama "The Only Thrill," opposite Diane Keaton, Sam Shepard and Robert Patrick; the political thriller "Murder at 1600," opposite Wesley Snipes; Francis Ford Coppola's "Jack," opposite Robin Williams; and Walter Hill's epic Western "Wild Bill," with Jeff Bridges.
Lane has also appeared in a wide range of roles in some of television's most admired movies and miniseries, including TNT's "The Virginian," opposite Bill Pullman; "A Streetcar Named Desire," opposite Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange; and her Emmynominated role, Lorena, in the CBS series "Lonesome Dove," opposite Robert Duvall. She also starred opposite Gena Rowlands in the Hallmark Hall of Fame drama "Grace & Glorie." In 1994, Lane starred with Donald Sutherland, Cicely Tyson and Anne Bancroft in the epic miniseries "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All," based on the bestselling novel by Allan Gurganus, in which Lane portrayed a character from her early teens into her sixties.
The daughter of drama coach Burt Lane and singer Colleen Farrington, Lane answered a call for child actors at La Mama Experimental Theater at age six. She won a role in Andrei Serbian's unique version of "Medea" and subsequently appeared over the next five years in his productions of "Electra," "The Trojan Women," "The Good Woman of Szechuan" and "As You Like It," both in New York and at theater festivals around the world.
After performing in Joseph Papp's productions of "The Cherry Orchard" and "Agamemnon" at Lincoln Center in 1976-77, she starred at The Public Theater in "Runaways" and made her film debut, opposite Sir Laurence Olivier, in George Roy Hill's "A Little Romance" in 1978.
SCOTT GLENN (Robert Torrelson), an actor of remarkable range, will follow "Nights in Rodanthe" with a comic turn in "Surfer Dude," alongside Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson, and end the year with a starring role in the Oliver Stone biopic "W," as the controversial Donald Rumsfeld. Glenn recently starred in the blockbuster hit "The Bourne Ultimatum," the independent adventure comedy "Camille," Richard LaGravenese's drama "Freedom Writers" and the 2004 film noir "Puerto Vallarta Squeeze," based on the novel by Robert James Waller. He also starred in Lasse Hallstrom's acclaimed drama "The Shipping News," the satire "Buffalo Soldiers," Antoine Fuqua's "Training Day" and the action thriller "Vertical Limit."
After more than 20 years pursuing a career as a novelist, poet and journalist, Glenn launched his acting career with a number of off-Broadway productions, including "Fortune & Men's Eyes" and "Collision Course," and spent the late 1960s in traveling theatrical productions across New York City.
Relocating to Hollywood, he won small parts in Robert Altman's "Nashville," some of Roger Corman's low-budget specials and Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now," before making his big-screen starring debut alongside John Travolta in the 1980 classic "Urban Cowboy." Other major film roles soon followed, including Robert Towne's "Personal Best"; John Frankenheimer's "The Challenge"; Philip Kaufman's "The Right Stuff," in which Glenn appeared as astronaut Alan Shepard; Lawrence Kasdan's Western "Silverado"; John McTiernan's Oscar-winning adventure "The Hunt for Red October"; Jonathan Demme's Oscar-winning "The Silence of the Lambs"; Stuart Rosenberg's "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys"; Ron Howard's acclaimed "Backdraft"; the epic fantasy adventure "Tall Tale"; the dark comedy "Reckless"; Edward Zwick's wartime drama "Courage Under Fire"; Ken Loach's festival favorite "Carla's Song," a love story set amidst the guerilla war in Nicaragua; Clint Eastwood's "Absolute Power"; and Sofia Coppola's "The Virgin Suicides."
Glenn's credits include numerous network and cable movies and guest-starring roles in a wide range of hit television series over the past three decades. He recently starred in the A&E biographical drama "Faith of My Fathers," NBC's "Homeland Security," and the Hallmark Hall of Fame productions "Gone But Not Forgotten," John Gray's "The Seventh Stream" and "A Painted House," based on John Grisham's novel. He starred in the 1994 Showtime noir thriller "Past Tense" and has twice portrayed Sgt. Daniel Muldoon in Showtime's "Naked City" films.
A lifelong member of The Actors Studio, Glenn made a triumphant return to Broadway as Pale in Lanford Wilson's "Burn This," and off-Broadway in "Dark Rapture" and the critically acclaimed "Killer Joe," for which he earned a Drama Desk Best Actor nomination and a special honor at the Drama League Awards presentation. He also starred in Arthur Miller's final play, "Finishing the Picture," at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, for which Miller wrote a scene for him.
Glenn has been married to artist Carol Schwartz since 1967. The Glenns are active supporters of numerous charities, including the Naval Special Warfare Foundation, for families of fallen servicemen and The Delta Society, which helps train and sponsor service and therapy dogs.
CHRISTOPHER MELONI (Jack) earned an Emmy Award nomination for his role as compassionate detective Elliot Stabler in NBC's Top 10-rated "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," and is currently starring in the series' tenth season.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Meloni also portrayed duplicitous inmate Chris Keller on HBO's intense prison drama "Oz," created by Tom Fontana. His additional work in television includes guest appearances on "NYPD Blue," "Homicide: Life on the Street" and "Scrubs." He also starred in the series "Leaving L.A." and in several miniseries, including "In a Child's Name," Mario Puzo's "The Last Don" and, most recently, the telefilm "Gym Teacher: The Movie," for Nickelodeon. Meloni appeared in the hit comedy "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" and more recently in its sequel, "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay." He will soon appear in the film "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men," starring Julianne Nicholson, Timothy Hutton and Bobby Cannavale, written and directed by John Krasinski. Meloni will also be seen in the Pastor brothers' feature "Carriers," an apocalyptic thriller about a dangerous viral pandemic, with Piper Perabo and Chris Pine, and the ribald comedy "National Lampoon's Dirty Movie," which he also directed and produced.
Previously, Meloni earned accolades for his performance as a temperamental chef working at a summer camp in the hilarious independent film "Wet Hot American Summer," opposite Janeane Garafolo and David Hyde Pierce. His other film credits include "Runaway Bride," in which he starred opposite Julia Roberts as her sports- enthusiast fiancé, as well as "Twelve Monkeys," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Junior" and "Bound."
He received critical praise for his work on the stage in 2005, when he starred as Eddie Carbone in Arthur Miller's "A View From the Bridge" at Dublin's prestigious Gate Theatre, for which he was honored as Best Actor in Ireland's highest theater awards from the Irish Times.
A native of Washington, D.C., Meloni attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he first became interested in acting. After graduation, he took a construction job in his hometown until a high school acquaintance inspired him to move to New York to study acting. It was there that he apprenticed at the Neighborhood Playhouse and got his first big break as the lead in the NBC comedy "The Fanelli Boys."
VIOLA DAVIS (Jean) is a critically revered actress of film, television and theater who made an indelible impression on the big screen with her heart-wrenching turn in Denzel Washington's "Antwone Fisher," which earned her an Independent Spirit Award nomination.
Davis will next star alongside Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman in the highly anticipated film "Doubt," written and directed by John Patrick Shanley from his play and slated for a December release. She will also be seen in the features "State of Play," with Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachael McAdams and Jason Bateman, directed by Kevin Macdonald ("The Last King of Scotland") and based on the popular BBC television series; and Tyler Perry's "Medea Goes to Jail," loosely based on the Atlanta stage production. Both are set to debut in 2009.
Recently, Davis had a supporting role in the thriller "Disturbia," starring Shia LaBeouf, for director D.J. Caruso. She was also seen in the independent film "The Architect," opposite Anthony LaPaglia. Her additional film credits include Jim Sheridan's "Get Rich or Die Tryin,'" opposite 50 Cent; "Syriana," starring George Clooney, directed by Stephen Gaghan and produced by Steven Soderbergh (Davis' fourth collaboration with the Oscar-winning director); "Far from Heaven," with Dennis Quaid and Julianne Moore; and "Solaris," "Traffic" and "Out of Sight," all directed by Soderbergh.
In Summer 2008, Davis starred in the Emmy Award-nominated A&E miniseries "The Andromeda Strain." Her additional television credits include a recurring role on "Law & Order: SVU"; a recurring role in the CBS franchise "Jesse Stone," opposite Tom Selleck; a starring role in "Life is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story," for Lifetime; and starring roles in ABC's "Traveler," CBS' "Century City," "Lefty" and the Steven Bochco series "City of Angels." Additionally, she appeared in Oprah Winfrey's "Amy and Isabelle" and Hallmark Hall of Fame's "Grace and Glorie."
In 2004, Davis lit up the stage in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Lynn Nottage's "Intimate Apparel," for Tony Award-winning director Daniel Sullivan. She garnered the highest honors for an off-Broadway play, including Best Actress awards from the Drama Desk, the Drama League, the Obies and the Audelco Award, as well as a nomination for the Lucille Lortel Award. She reprised her role at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, where she was recognized with the Ovation, Los Angeles Drama Critics and Garland Awards. In 2001, Davis was awarded a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her work in playwright August Wilson's "King Hedley II."
She captured the attention of critics and audiences alike for her portrayal of Tonya, a 35year- old woman forced to fight for the right to abort an unwanted pregnancy. Davis also received a Drama Desk Award for her performance.
A graduate of Juilliard, Davis also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from her alma mater Rhode Island College. She is married to actor Julius Tennon.
Movies & Movie Reviews: Nights in Rodanthe