September 26, 2008

Women at the Box Office This Weekend

Nights at Rodanthe is the film this weekend targeted at women. It's another in the line of Nicholas Sparks romantic novels like The Notebook and Message in a Bottle that are very good at attracting women. I mean, really, how can you go wrong with Richard Gere and Diane Lane. They have some serious on screen chemistry as two people who meet one weekend and fall in love at an inn on the Outer Banks of North Carolina during a hurricane. The circumstances may seem absurd, but the characters come off as real with Lane playing a woman deciding whether she wants to divorce her cheating husband, and Gere playing a doctor dreading a confrontation with the husband of a patient who died on his operating table.

Kudos to producer Denise Di Novi who has a great track record producing films for women including the subversive Heathers, Little Women, Practical Magic, What a Girl Wants and both Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants films. I loved that director George C. Wolfe cast Viola Davis as Lane's best friend and owner of the inn. I appreciate that he showed a real, loving friendship between a white woman and an African-American woman (which Tyler Perry also did in The Family That Preys. Interesting that both films are directed by African American men.) I loved how after falling in love, Lane returned to her art which she had given up to raise her family. I loved that the film gave hope and possibilities for rediscovering yourself. I loved that Diane Lane looked like a normal 40 something woman. She is beyond gorgeous but looks real, with lines of her face that match her age (unlike Meg Ryan looked in The Women.)

I thought the first half was stronger than the second, when it became a really sappy melodrama. But the second half included a great reconciliation between Lane and her teenage daughter played by Mae Whitman. They fought all through the film (typical teen film bullshit), but when Whitman stepped up to help her mother through her grief, it showed what a lovely young actress Whitman has become.

Other Women-Centric Films in Theatres
Hounddog: Concerned Women for America is trying to boycott Hounddog. It's important not to let the right-wing efforts shut down giving people the ability to judge the film for themselves. Director Deborah Kampmeier will be doing a Q&A following the 5:15pm show Saturday at the Cinema Village. (disclaimer, I am consultant to the film)

The Duchess
The Women
Frozen River
Trouble the Water
The Family That Preys
The Longshots
Mamma Mia!
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

Also, Diane Keaton opens in limited release in Smother which does not seem to be reviewed. It doesn't look promising but in case you must see Diane Keaton this weekend...