Looking at past statistics, it seems a reasonable assumption that every year will be bringing to cinemas a new Nicholas Sparks adaptation. If they continue in the mold of Safe Haven, I won’t mind in the least. And this has nothing whatsoever to do with Josh Duhamel in its cast list.
Safe Haven (2013) Film Review
Young and foolish, Katie (Julianne Hough) once convinced herself she was in love. It doesn’t end well. It’s this that brings her to the sleepy, small coastal town of Southport North Carolina. There she begins a job at a diner. Only does she begin to let her guard slip when she meets the kind-hearted single father, Alex (Duhamel). The owner of the only convenience store, it isn’t long before Alex orders things he never stocks for the mysterious young woman while his daughter Lexie (Mimi Kirkland) begins to look forward to impromptu visits with Katie.
It isn’t until her past catches up with her that the lives of those Katie has come to deeply love are put in danger.
Anytime one of Nicholas Sparks novel’s arrives on the big-screen there’s a certain amount of displeasure at the news. For the rest of us who like a good story, and expect nothing beyond, he’s one writer who weaves a memorable romance. What makes Safe Haven stand taller is that the author jumps into new territory and the gamble is a success.‘SAFE HAVEN’: A COASTAL ROMANCE ABOUT TRUST. Based on the #NicholasSparks novel, this drama stars Julianne House and Josh Duhamel. #Romance #Movies Click To Tweet
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Director Lasse Hallström (Chocolat, An Unfinished Life, Dear John) tells this story with his seasoned skill. This works to the full advantage of the novelization, even if its timeline isn’t a carbon copy. What it is, is a darn good one that compliments Sparks story, and fleshes out the visual aspects . Landscapes are stunning. Similar scenes play out in addition to the sentimental moments that are the typical cliché romantics. However, this is more than what we’ve come to expect of this author. It has sweet and sappy romantics, yes but it alternates between that and a really good buildup of suspense to a conclusion that was exactly as it should be.
The film opens with an appropriate sense of mystery. If you were unfamiliar with the story, you’re going to be curious. This lead off comes from the talented Julianne Hough who plays the role with class and maturity. The conversations between she and Alex have a realistic bent; they go from awkward to “safe.”
However, the real scene-stealer is newcomer Mimi Kirkland who is perfectly adorable as Lexie. Finally, Josh Duhamel makes for an excellent (swoon-worthy, even) hero. The greatest flaw is Katie being too quick to accept the possibility of a relationship. She has no reason to distrust Alex but still, as the (book-loving) viewer we are too aware of her past to condone it. In these intimate moments, there was a sense of tenderness that is usually absent and for that, this was much more intimately “passionate” than the average romance.
As a whole, Safe Haven is good; there’s nice atmosphere and cute beach scenes. Fans of the book should in no way find this a disappointment. Any altering enhances the movie-going experience (sans one thing), and it’s a story that is taunt and sweet in one package. There is a few times when the characterizations play too leniently, but the key elements remain the same with some minor details left untouched.
In some small way, this is one of the “best” movies of its kind to come along in recent years. There is beauty to its Southern (slow-moving) story-telling. In my opinion, this is a Nicholas Sparks movie that has some really feeling to it. There aren’t any protagonists we have to force ourselves to like, and the message is a romantic one that comes from a pure emotion not often experienced at the movies.
Content: There is one scene of intimacy [sheets cover anything inappropriate although there is a shot of a woman’s bare back and brief under the sheets movement] and one heavy “make-out” scene [implications of adultery]. Flashbacks show a woman struggling to get away from someone before she stabs him; one character is shot and killed. There is some minor profanity, sh*t, h*ll, GD. Alcohol consumption is present and a fire climaxes the ending. The rating is PG13.