The movie starts out with Adrian (Diane Lane) getting her kids ready to spend the weekend in Orlando with their father Jack (Chris Meloni). Just before they leave Jack tells Adrian that he wants to move back home. This takes Adrian by surprise and it's made clear that Jack left his family for another woman but now wants Adrian to take him back. Adrian tells him that she needs time to think about it and that he should give her some space. He invites her to come with him and the kids to Orlando so they can spend some time together but she says that she can't because she told her friend that she would take care of her bed and breakfast for the weekend. They agree to talk when they get back from the trip and Adrian promises her young son that they will talk every night. He doesn't want to go with his dad but Adrian tells him that it will be fun. The last thing she tells Jack is to make sure to have the son take his asthma medicine every night before bed.
Adrian gets to the bed and breakfast and her friend is telling her how the place runs. She says how the hot water takes a minute to "bubble up" and things like that. Then she tells her not to worry if the hurricane that's nearby comes her way. Apparently there have been many hurricanes that this bed and breakfast have been through. The house is literally on the beach and looks very old. Then Adrian's friend tells her that there is just one customer for the weekend and not to worry.
Then it goes to Paul (Richard Gere) moving out of his large house. He gives up his keys to the new owners and drives off pretty fast in a nice car. He keeps having flashbacks of being in his last surgery with his son. Something bad happened but it's not clear if it's his fault or what really happened. Paul gets to the bed and breakfast and walks in. There is no one around so he rings the bell a few times and then wanders through the house. He goes to the back porch and finds Adrian looking out at the ocean. She had been crying pretty hard and tries to cover it up by saying the wind is blowing hard. She brings Paul to the front desk and asks him to sign in. She asks him to put his home address and he says he would rather not. She says that's fine and shows him to his room. He is in the "blue" room and everything in the room is blue. She tells him that dinner is at eight or seven thirty or whatever he wants because he's the only customer there that weekend. He says that seven thirty is fine. Adrian asks if he needs anything else and he says no. Adrian goes and begins to make dinner. Eventually Paul comes down to the dining room where there are about five empty tables. He sits at the one that is for two people by the window and is by himself. Adrian comes in and gives him some bread and pours him some wine. She is nervous and asks him if he would have rather had white wine but he says the red is fine. Adrian goes back into the kitchen and starts playing some music and just then Paul walks in with his wine glass. He comments on the song playing and puts his wine glass down. Paul goes back into the dining room and grabs his plate and brings it into the kitchen. Adrian asks him if there's anything wrong with his table and he says no but he didn't want to eat alone. So Adrian and Paul sit together in the kitchen and have dinner. They begin to talk and share stories about their failed marriages and their children that hate them. After dinner they sit outside on the porch and talk some more and you can tell that they are finally warming up to each other. Then Paul says that he should go to bed and he leaves.
The next morning, Paul goes running early in the morning and begins to have flashbacks of that last surgery and of the patient's face and then of the heart rate dropping and eventually them dying. Paul is shown running by a house in the middle of a neighborhood. He makes note of the house number and leaves. When he came back to the house Adrian asks if Paul would like her to make him some breakfast and Paul says maybe later because he has to go into town to talk to someone. Then Paul drives back to the house and a young man comes out from a truck. The young man is angry once he finds out that Paul is the doctor that killed his mother and tells him to leave. Paul argues that his father wrote him a letter and wanted to talk. The young man doesn't care and he tells him to leave. Finally Paul leaves and on his way out the young man kicks in the side of his nice car. Paul gets really angry and drives off fast. Once Paul gets back to the hotel, he sees Adrian pulling out wood to lock up the windows for the storm that's coming in. He offers to help her and is clearly mad and wanting to blow off some steam. He grabs a handful of heavy wood and drops some on his foot. He gets really mad and Adrian sees that she should probably leave for a while. She tells Paul that she needs to go into town to get some supplies and will be back. Once she goes to the store she asks the cashier if she knows anything about the family that Paul was there to see. The woman tells Adrian that the wife had saved up a lot of money to have plastic surgery and then died during the operation. Now the husband is trying to sue Paul and that's why Paul came to talk to him. When Adrian goes back home she asks Paul about what happened. He gets defensive and asks if she wants to know the truth. He tells her that he was operating on a cyst in this lady's cheek and that it was a normal operation but that she had an allergic reaction to the drugs and that's why she died. He said he came to talk to the husband about that and tell him that there really isn't anyone to blame. He says that if Adrian is uncomfortable with him staying there that he will leave. Adrian offers to cook some salmon for dinner and Paul smiles. This time they have a candle lit dinner by the window and Adrian and Paul eat together and talk for a long time. They are getting closer and sharing more personal stories with each other. Then Adrian tells Paul that she wants to show him something. She brings him upstairs to a room with all sorts of paintings. She tells him that her friend's grandmother told her that they were her spirit guides. They are paintings of all kinds of people like the god of lightning and things like that. There's even one of Adrian when she was a lot younger. Paul finds this wooden box and Adrian tells him that she made it a long time ago out of driftwood. She said that the more twisted the driftwood, the better the piece would be because it was that much more beautiful when you created something from something so twisted. She tells Paul that it's to keep things safe inside. Paul asks her what she would keep in her box and she says her children, her friend, her memories of her father that recently passed away. Paul then asks her who keeps her safe? She doesn't really have a straight answer for him. She says things about when you get married you become a different person and when that ends you don't have the same things you used to. Just then her phone rings and it's her daughter. Her daughter is mad because she said that Adrian promised Jack that she would let him come back and live with them again. Adrian says that she never said that and then asks to speak to Jack. They fight on the phone for a while and it gets really heated. Adrian gets off the call and comes downstairs and puts on an old record and begins to dance. Then she looks at Paul and says that she needs a drink. So Adrian and Paul start drinking shots of Jack Daniels and begin to get drunk. Adrian starts going through her friend's cabinets where she keeps her food for emergencies and they begin to throw it away. Adrian says that they'll never use it and they start playing a kind of basketball with the food and the trash bin. They end up drinking most of the bottle of whiskey and then all the sudden Adrian says that she needs to go to bed.
The next morning Adrian asks Jack if he's leaving because he had been trying to arrange an earlier flight to get out of there. The hurricane is going to hit them so Adrian is boarding up the house to get ready. Jack says he couldn't get an earlier flight so he will stay there the night. Just then, the husband of the patient that died and the son drive up in the truck and get out to talk to Paul. Paul tells him that there was nothing he could have done and that what happened to his wife was a one in fifty thousand odds thing and no one was to blame. The man then asks him if he knew what color eyes his wife had. Paul doesn't say anything and acts cold to the husband. He gets back in the car and him and his son drive away. Adrian starts boarding up the windows and the wind is getting worse and worse. Paul starts helping her board it up and they begin to argue. Adrian says that Paul had no compassion for that man. He didn't show any sign that he understood that he lost the best thing in his life. She says that all that man wanted was to know that Paul was sorry for what had happened. Then Paul starts talking about Adrian's marriage and asking her why she's considering taking her husband back when she is clearly unhappy. They begin to fight and they both go into the house. The wind gets really bad and they are both running around checking the windows. One of the windows breaks and the power goes out. Adrian goes to find the generator but it doesn't work. Just as Adrian is coming into the dining room Paul sees that the china hutch is going to fall on her and he pulls her out of the way just in time. Paul and Adrian are sitting close and then they finally kiss. It flashes forward to the next morning and the storm is gone. Paul wakes up alone and goes to find Adrian. He finds her sitting on the beach crying. He asks her what's wrong and she asks him if he heard the phone ring that morning. He says no and she tells him that her husband Jack took their son to the hospital that morning because of an asthma attack. She starts crying and saying that this was the first time something like this had happened and she wasn't there. She feels guilty that she chose to go take care of the bed and breakfast instead of take care of her kids.
At one point Paul begins to tell Adrian about his son and how he's a doctor too but how he's living in South America taking care of people who really need medicine. He says that he's going to be flying down there to try and get him to come back.
Paul and Adrian end up going back to the husband's house who's wife died from before and the husband shows Paul her picture. He tells him that she had dark brown eyes that were soft. He says how nice she was and how loving. He tells Paul how he knew her since they were kids and she always had that thing under her cheek and she always hated it. He said that he never noticed it but that she never asked for anything in their whole life so he said she could have it removed since that's what she really wanted. Paul gets very emotional and tells the husband that he's really sorry for what happens. The husband has a look of relief or closure on his face after.
Adrian tells Paul that she was glad to be there to hear all that and they go for a long walk on the beach. Paul tells Adrian that maybe she'll see the wild ponies that run on the beach but she tells him that they don't live that far up on the island. Later that night they get dressed up and go out to a party that's celebrating the end of the hurricane. There's all sorts of sea food and singing and dancing. Paul and Adrian go to the end of the dock and dance alone by the ocean. They kiss and then it flashes to the blue room. They end up sleeping together and in the morning they are talking about Paul's trip to South America. Paul says that he doesn't know how long he'll be gone and Adrian says that it's ok because his son is the most important thing in his life. He tells her that he will write her all the time. She looks at him like she doesn't believe it will happen. Paul packs up his things and drives away. He stops at the end of the driveway and runs back for one last kiss and then finally leaves.
Adrian's family comes back from Orlando and the children are waiting in the living room. Jack comes out of a room and walks past them. They are asking him what's wrong but he doesn't say anything. Jack walks out the door and slams it behind them. Adrian comes out and starts explaining the situation to the children. The older daughter gets mad and storms out of the room and slams the door to her bedroom. The little boy just hugs his mom and cries.
A little while later Adrian finally gets a letter from Paul. He says that he wants to get to know her better while he's down in South America and that he can't wait to come back to her at the end of his trip. They begin writing to each other all the time and Adrian starts carving a new wooden box. She looks so happy and people start to notice. Finally Paul plans a trip to come see Adrian and she is on the phone with her friend from the bed and breakfast telling her that she's making the same dinner that they had on the first night that he was there. She's so happy and excited to see him. Then they show Adrian sitting in a nice dress with the candles lit in the background waiting for Paul. Finally she calls the airline to see if he was on the plane but they refuse to give her any information. The next morning the doorbell rings and she answers it to see Paul's son. He's holding a box for her. He comes in and begins to tell her a story about his dad. He says that when he got there he was a changed man. He thought his dad was going to try and take over the hospital down there but all he did was work. They were finally beginning to get along again. Then there was a flood and they had been trying to remove medical supplies from their building before they would be washed away. Paul ran into the building to get supplies and just then the building was over run by a mudslide. Everything was washed away and Paul died. Paul's son said that Adrian saved his dad. He was a better man because of her. Then she says that they saved each other. He leaves and she starts looking through the box he gave her. There were letters in there from her and to her. She looks at them and holds them to her chest and begins to cry hard.
The next morning they show the kids get home from their weekend with their dad. The son runs in the house wanting to tell his mom something but they can't find her. Eventually they come to the kitchen and see he sitting at the dining room table in her pajamas with her feet up on the table. She doesn't say anything or even look at them. The daughter tells her brother to go upstairs and he leaves. From then on the daughter starts taking care of her mom. Adrian is very depressed and sleeps a lot after that. Then one day she seems to be a little better and the daughter comes and asks her what's wrong. She begins by telling her that she loves her father Jack because he's their father but that there is a different kind of love. She tells her that she deserves to have that kind of love in her life someday and not to settle for less. Then she starts to tell her about Paul and shows her some pictures of him in South America and the letters that he wrote to her and some that she wrote to him. They both cry and they look at the new box her mom had made for Paul. She was going to give it to him when he came to visit.
Adrian then goes to the beach where they had walked before and the breeze is strong and the waves are pretty high. Just then a herd of the wild horses come through and are running right by Adrian. She can't believe that they are there! She just cries and loves the moment.
*CUT TO THE CHASE*
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Paul (Richard Gere) goes to South America to reunited with his estranged son (James Franco) after falling in love with Adrienne (Diane Lane). While he is gone the two exchange love letters. On the night he is supposed to return she waits for him, but he never appears. The next day his son appears at the door with a box of his father's belongings and tells her Paul was killed in a mud slide before he left. He thanks her for changing his father for the better.
Thanks Mary C!
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