Minding a friends remote seaside inn, vulnerable abandoned wife Adrienne (Lane) welcomes sole guest Paul (Gere), a curt city doctor on an unhappy personal mission. His arrival coincides with a hurricane warning, forcing the two to batten the hatches and
This date movie for the mature comes with a hanky alert. Bestselling author Nicholas Sparks is one of the rare male romance novellists whose popular weepies evidently do it for men as well as women, across an undeniably impressive age range. Films previously adapted from his books include Message In A Bottle, The Notebook and teen tearjerker favourite A Walk To Remember. For those not up to speed, it’s practically obligatory that there be crashing waves, flowery love letters and flashbacks involved. One can also anticipate an uplifting expression of faith in second chances, and in the healing empowerment of true lurve.
This one offers middle-aged people of well above average gorgeousness - silver fox Gere and the thinking man’s 40something sensitive beauty Lane, comfortably teamed in their third film together.
The plot is so it beyond formulaic it doesn’t bear going into. If you don’t know everything that’s going to happen in this before it actually transpires on screen you have definitely picked the wrong genre movie. Adrienne has a straying ex (Meloni) who wants her back, a sulky, squawking teen (Mae Whitman) hectoring her, and a small boy fitting the usual bespectacled, asthmatic kid bill - who provide her conflict. Dr. McDreamy Sr. has to confront the bitter widower (Glenn) of a patient he lost, so there’s his crisis of conscience and explanation for being in the middle of nowhere. A curiously unbilled James Franco is Gere’s estranged surgeon son, who has gone off to escape furious father-son flashbacks by doing good works in Ecuador, where we know we will meet up with him again.
All of Sparks’ novels are set in his native North Carolina and the film benefits from using the specific location on the wild Outer Banks, with a preposterously picturesque inn and elusive wild horses who put in an appearance on cue. Distinguished theatre director Wolfe marks his film debut by running riot with production design, packing in cute Americana and idiosyncratic objets d’art. His trump card is Diane Lane, who is so fine she makes you cry even while scorning the blatant manipulation that’s forced you to scrabble in your pocket for that wadded old tissue there somewhere.
Its like The Bridges Of Madison County with more shouting, only not nearly as good. No surprises whatsoever, but nice scenery, attractive stars and another credible, affecting performance from Lane that hoiks it up an extra star.