Safe Haven Reviews
When a mysterious young woman arrives in a small North Carolina town, her reluctance to join the tight knit community raises questions about her past. Slowly, she begins putting down roots, and gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex, a widowed store owner with two young children. But dark secrets intrude on her new life with such terror that she is forced to rediscover the meaning of sacrifice and rely on the power of love in this deeply moving romantic thriller.
So I've taken some slack for not seeing any Nicholas Sparks films. Granted, this slack has come from a couple of my friends who are in love with him and his novels, but either way, I promised I would watch one soon. It ultimately came down to which film I thought had the more interesting plot, and "Safe Haven" sounded relatively interesting. Sadly, this was just a complete mess of a film. Not only was it not interesting (putting that in a nice way), but there's really no redeeming qualities about this film.
I guess we'll just start with the characters. The actors, whose names I don't know (except for Josh Duhamel), but I guess they were fine. I mean, the talent themselves were likable individuals, but I could've cared less about their characters. I didn't care for their backstories, I didn't have any real interest in their impulsive relationship, and I wasn't invested in the situation.
I thought this movie was at least watchable for the first two acts. I mean, it wasn't like a great film or anything, but I could watch it and be content. Then the third act came, and the movie's story tried to be smart. It tried to pull of twists and turns that it had no right to try, as it was way out of its league. I thought the story was just horrible and insensible, while also being poorly well written.
In the end, there's not really anything to talk about here. It just wasn't a good movie. I get how some people can find some enjoyment in this, but this is a well less than adequate film.
It keeps you on the edge your seat the whole time. This is one romantic thriller that you don't want to miss. You catch it on Netflix anytime (AND YOU SHOULD!!!)
Adapted from yet another sappy Nicolas Sparks novel, Safe Haven with its picturesque small town locale populated by good-hearted southern folks in candy-box houses and a stunning sprawling coastline hits all the familiar notes but has an undeniable undercurrent of manipulation.
Taking a second giant career leap backwards (after his other schmaltzy Sparks project 2010's Dear John), Director Lasse Hallstrom, who created such dramatic treats as My Life as a Dog and What's Eating Gilbert Grape slips further and further into laughable territory with more predictably formulaically fare.
In an attempt not to divulge too many plot details, here is a really basic summary. But I warn you, not guessing the end may not be an option.
Running, bloody handed in the dead of night, Katie (Julianne Hough) abruptly jumps the nearest bus out of Boston. Stopping on-route to Atlanta in the charming tourist spot of Southport, North Carolina, Katie has a moment of serine clarity on the wharf and decides to remain.
Renting a rustic cottage, Katie hikes daily to the local convenience shop where owner Alex (Josh Duhamel) takes an instant shine. A recent widower and father of two; the willful Josh (Noah Lomax) and curious Lexie (Mimi Kirkland), Alex generous attempts at kindness unnerve the vigilantly alert and connection shunning Katie.
Although her self-preservation shield is slowly brought down by Alex, his children and the help of a close yet myserious neighbor, outrunning her past is not going to be so simple. When her drunkard abusive husband, Tierney (David Lyons) utilizes all means at a police officer's disposal to find her, no-one and nowhere; no matter how remote, is safe.
Dogged by dreadful dialogue and a lack of chemistry, Duhamel's charming warmth and trademark self-deprecating sense of humor has little opportunity to engage beyond the status of eye-candy, whilst trained dancer Hough with her limited acting credits is the weakest link seemingly unable to summon the requisite dramatic skills.
Almost as bad is the manic alcohol-swilling Lyons, who we no-more believe as villainous as gummy bears. Two redeemable and genuine appealing performances are from young Kirkland and Lomax, both terrific scene stealers with talent far beyond vibrant cuteness.
The Verdict: Personally if you're looking for an intriguing balancing act between blossoming love in the midst of suspense and anguish, I would look back 20 years when Julia Roberts slept with an enemy.
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 22/02/2013