Richard Gere has definitely slowed down the acting roles in recent years, and can you really blame him? Dude is in his 70s now after all and has had such a long and successful career over the last many decades. But there are always chances to catch up with some of his previous films and one of those is coming to streaming next month. In March, Nights in Rodanthe is hitting Netflix for United States customers.
Nights in Rodanthe is based on the Nicholas Sparks book of the same name. It stars Diane Lane as Adrienne Willis, a mother who is going through a messy divorce from her husband (Christopher Meloni). As a way to “escape” it all and get some introspective time, she offers to watch a friend’s bed and breakfast for the weekend. Like almost all Nicholas Sparks’ books, this takes place in a coastal town and there’s going to be some love in the air. While overseeing the B&B, Lane has one traveler staying there as well. You guessed it, Richard Gere is just that guy. He plays Dr. Paul Flanner, a surgeon who’s suffering some PTSD because of surgery he botched. Here, check out the trailer for Nights in Rodanthe:
We’ve got all the Nicholas Sparks action and reaction going in this one. There’s the Outer Banks setting, the melodramatic love affair between two “struggling” people, the soundtrack, the ocean, a picture-perfect house on the coast that no one actually ever really owns. It’s just all happening. Richard Gere, in his character, is clearly struggling with the pain of the mistakes he’s made while Lane is searching for something in her life. It’s cheesy, but for the right crowd this kind of movie definitely works, and what makes Sparks so popular on both the pages and the big screen. Critics rarely latch on to these types of movies, but they have their time and place for a comforting watch.
At this point in their respective careers, Richard Gere and Diane Lane are definitely playing a little bit to the older romantic crowd. Both are in their 50s so the film’s audience is a bit self-selecting. This isn’t Gere’s Pretty Woman phase by any means, but the backdrop, the romance, and the bits of chemistry between the two do play out well enough on screen.
Nights in Rodanthe did score well at the box office, earning more than $84 million through its theater run. For Richard Gere, this represented a considerable uptick in reception compared to other feature-length films he was putting out at the time. Brooklyn’s Finest which came out a year later and had a much bigger cast scored only $36 million which was the same haul as Nicholas Jarecki’s Arbitrage in 2012.
And as far as Nicholas Sparks books-turned-movies, this one ranks better than most. It’s sitting at 30% on Rotten Tomatoes which doesn’t sound all that great but consider some of his other adaptations and it doesn’t look all that bad. Consider Dear John (28%), Last Song (21%), The Lucky One (20%) and Safe Haven (13%) came out in the subsequent years and all of a sudden this plays pretty well. Part of it was that Richard Gere and Diane Lane actually earn solid marks for their performances with the script being the culprit in some of the poor reviews.
As for Richard Gere, his time on screen has slowed considerably over the years. In fact, his last official credit was from the 2019 thriller miniseries MotherFatherSon. Before that, he was in the well-received, but barely-watched Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer. He also had The Second Best Exotic Marigold Motel which actually performed okay with the critics and at the box office.
But with nothing much on the horizon for Richard Gere, it’s always a good time to go back and re-explore some of his previous works. Nights in Rodanthe is still a sweet love story for all its Sparks-ian schmaltz. Gere and Lane play well in the lead roles and the backdrop always sets the right tone for these films. Check it out when it hits Netflix next month.