Movies like Nights in Rodanthe are beyond reviewing, because intellectually analyzing them cancels out their intended effect. This is a weepie, pure and simple. If you're the type that likes crying at the movies, you'll love it. If you loved Richard Gere and Diane Lane together in a thriller like Unfaithful (2002) but you don't like to cry, you probably won't like it. Me, I found a few things to like and much to loathe.
Diane Lane stars in Nights in Rodanthe as Adrienne Willis, a frazzled single mother with a young son and a teenage daughter; the latter has just begun talking back and expressing her universal disdain for everything her mother does. Adrienne's no-good husband (Christopher Meloni), who, we learn, has had an affair, arrives to pick up the kids so that Adrienne can go help her happy-go-lucky pal Jean (Viola Davis, playing a typical movie "best friend") look after a sexy, beach-side North Carolina hotel during its off-season. Unfortunately, the husband now wants to get back together.
Confused Adrienne arrives at the hotel, which is decorated head-to-foot in all kinds of colored, tinkly bric-a-brac and prepares for its one and only guest. Dr. Paul Flanner (Richard Gere) is a doctor struggling with a dark secret, and who has arrived for an equally mysterious errand. The attractive duo eventually warm up to one another and talk, but their dark secrets get in the way. Meanwhile, a huge storm threatens to blow away everything that isn't nailed down. I guess it's not too hard to guess what happens next. (Trivia hounds: this is Gere and Lane's third movie together. Besides Unfaithful, they were in Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club together way back in 1984.)