Title – Safe Haven (2013)
Director – Lasse Hallstrom (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape)
Cast – Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel
Plot – On the run after committing a crime Katie (Hough) finds herself in idyllic seaside town to start a new life. The last thing on Katie’s mind is love that is until she meets handsome shop owner and father Alex (Duhamel). Will Katie’s past come back to haunt her or will she find her “safe haven” with Alex and sail off into the preverbal sunset?
“Promise me something Katie, you’ll take a lot of pictures and only regret the ones that you didn’t take.”
Review by Eddie on 26/6/2013
Good old Nicholas Sparks – ever since The Notebook came into people’s lives way back in 2004 he has been riding the movie bandwagon all the way to the bank, no doubt as I write this review he is sitting somewhere in his mansion, writing his next script on $100 bills. It’s pretty much un-arguable that Sparks has become the go to man when it comes to making movies about forbidden or dangerous love, Safe Haven is no exception.
What we have as and end copy here is virtually a dummies guide to romance, seen a million times before and seen a lot better to add. The story of Katie and her new found life in Southport and her new found love in Alex is almost offensively generic in all bar its completely unnecessary and unfathomable final twist. The one thing that saves Safe Haven from direct to DVD worthy bargain bins is the addition of Hallstrom behind the camera.
Hallstrom has one of those film careers that seems to have a worrying discrepancy between career highs and lows, highs being What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and lows being his director for hire efforts like this or Dear John. Hallstrom however no matter what the material has a keen eye for a nice visual and an adequate enough handling of actors, even when working with C graders like Duhamel and Hough.
Hough and Duhamel’s relationship could of really bought the film out of the generic mire but there performances her barely raise a sweat, which isn’t surprising considering they are either wearing short shorts in Hough’s case or no shirt in Duhamel case. It must be said that the way their relationship comes to being is also completely unbelievable and forced something that was the polar opposite with a successful Sparks adaptation like The Notebook.
In the end Safe Haven’s target audience will more than likely lap every little bit of Spark syrup up, a fact highlighted by its nice box office kitty. Safe Haven offers nice locations, handsome leads, a hip soundtrack and a contrived ending, all staples of the great rich novel churning man. Anyone else wanting a decent romance however may as well re-watch The Notebook for the umpteenth time or dare I say it A Walk To Remember instead.
1 can of yellow paint out of 5