The film tells the story of Paul and Adrienne who, having both reached crossroads in their respective lives, find themselves thrown together in the idyllic beauty of Rodanthe as each attempts to face their own demons. Closed off from the rest of the world by a hurricane, in scenes that epitomise man’s struggle against the elements and himself, they finally stop fighting and come together; but the morning comes all too soon with consequences to face as life goes on with or without them.
The film has a certain classic feel about it; one almost feels it could have been shot in black and white. With its “tell it how it is” dialogue, epic turning points, unashamedly mature, life worn characters, and an integral soundtrack ranging from classic jazz to blockbuster surges, it could have been made anytime in the last fifty years. Add to these the quite exquisite use of colour, light and the natural scenery, and you have yourself a great romance in the making.
There are clichés, as there always are in film adaptations of Nicholas Sparks’ novels (for example The Notebook), yet I’ve always felt that he carries off cliché rather well, and the several members of the audience who were blubbing like babies obviously agree with me. The flashbacks can be irritating, and there is a horrible moment a little too reminiscent of Message in a Bottle which very nearly ruins the film. However, this is a story primarily about hope, and the possibility of life after death (of a loved one), and life after love, which are often one and the same. It just about manages to hang on to that message by the skin of its teeth, and remains a poignant, not to mention visually stunning, life affirming film.