Adrienne Willis (Diane Lane) is frazzled. Her cheating husband, Jack (Christopher Meloni), has left. Her angsty teenage daughter, Amanda (Mae Whitman), wishes she could. And now her soon-to-be ex wants a second chance to save their marriage. With this proposition on the table and the kids vacationing with Jack for the weekend, Adrienne heads to North Carolina's Outer Banks to look after her friend's inn—grateful for the chance to retreat and reconsider.
Her one guest for the weekend is Paul Flanner (Richard Gere), estranged from his wife and son—and a workaholic surgeon who recently lost a patient in a rare surgery glitch. He's in the area to meet with that patient's grieving husband, hoping to head off a lawsuit but really needing to offer both survivor and surgeon some healing closure.
As if driven by all the swirling emotions, a hurricane blows in, trapping Adrienne and Paul with their dilemmas—and with each other—in the rambling, gorgeous, almost mystical beach house. It's as if Nature itself is sending these two hurting souls straight into each other's arms for solace (read: impassioned sex).
Problem is, their romance appears quicker than the storm does. At least with the storm, we first get some rain and strong winds; we watch it develop. Adrienne and Paul go from cordial, almost frosty, to cozy lovers in the span of one home-cooked salmon dinner and a few scenes of battening down the hatches. And how romantic can hammering down some shutters really be?
So, when Adrienne shows Paul a wooden box she made years ago to keep treasures safe and he asks, "Who keeps you safe?," this lovely comment seems to come from left field. It's as if the scriptwriters mined the best lines from the Nicholas Sparks ...1