Safe Haven


Nicholas Sparks strikes again!

“Safe Haven” is a predictable, formulaic, romance by the numbers.

When Erin (Julianne Hough) goes on the run after stabbing her abusive husband (in self-defense), she winds up in the small coastal town of Southport, North Carolina. There, she meets Alex (Josh Duhamel), a widower and father of two young children who runs the town’s grocery. The two are attracted to each other, but how can she allow herself to be with him, when she’s wanted for murder?

All the while, a Cop back in Boston is relentlessly tracking her down.

Of course, eventually the feelings are too much for Erin and Alex, and they start to fall in love. Erin eases her way into the family, and the community, but will her past catch up with her?

You already know the answer to that if you’ve seen any of the previous films based on Sparks’ novels. “Safe Haven” is certainly not the most original feeling movie in the world, but the target audience for this film isn’t looking for originality, they’re looking for familiarity. Structure to take comfort in. And they’ll find it.

“Safe Haven” follows the Nicholas Sparks formula to a T:

  • Two people who want to get together but can’t
  • A home that needs repair
  • Friendly, helpful, advice dispensing elders
  • A canoe ride
  • A rainstorm that soaks the lovers at just the right time
  • A dangerous ex to add a touch of fear to the proceedings

Aside from being predictable romantic regurgitation, “Safe Haven”‘s two leads, Hough and Duhamel aren’t quite talented or charismatic enough to pull off a film that offers, essentially, nothing except the two of them falling in love. They’re pleasant and photogenic enough, but there just isn’t enough substance to offset the schmaltz. I’m sure hardcore romance movie fans will buy into it, but I wasn’t really feeling enough spark between the two of them to put my cynicism aside and get into the movie.

To top it all off, though, there’s a really… resoundingly ridiculous twist at the end of the film. I wont spoil it here… well, ok. I’ll spoil it here. Those interested can highlight the white text below.

At the beginning of the film,ย Hough’s characterย makes a friend when she moves into town. This woman (Cobyย Smulders) offers her advice about romance, and basically pushes her towards getting involved with Duhamel’s character. At the end of the film, it’s revealed that Smulders’ character was the ghost of Duhamel’s wife, who died of cancer a few years earlier. Hough finds a picture of their family before the mom died, has a flashback and a realization, and suddenly, it’s the romantic version of “The Sixth Sense”.

It was kind of laughable. The funny thing is, I know that the core audience will eat that shit up. LOL. But for those of us who aren’t Nicholas Sparks junkies, it’s a ludicrous capper to a silly little love story. This type of movie is more properly suited for a basic cable original.


Daniel Fogarty

36 thoughts on “Safe Haven

  1. DAT TWIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    In all seriousness, fuck this movie and Nicholas Sparks. The man has to stop. He’s to hopeless sad middle aged women what Tyler Perry is to black people.

  2. I read the spoilers a few days ago about the ending and I was like… “are you fucking kidding me? It’s come to that?”

    • Yeah, it was pretty silly alright. To be honest, if it wasn’t for that I might have given it a C/C-. It’s just run of the mill romantic dreck, it wasn’t painful or anything.

      But then when that spoiler hit I had to laugh… it was pretty dumb, man. LOL

  3. Had no desire to see this before I read your review. After your review, still don’t. Thanks for taking the bullet on this one.

  4. I used to read Nicholas Sparks novels and because of that I watched the movies but the only one I liked was A Walk to Remember and Message in the Bottle was decent but after that, man…they were just so blah…I’m probably avoiding this one..haha!

  5. What?! Predictable?! Shocking! o_O

    LOL! Yeah…I called this one! I did enjoy The Notebook–but that was all about the chemistry between Gosling and McAdams–even with all its melodrama. Yet, anything with Sparks’ name in front is usually the same. I can not do it! My eye rolling eventually gives me a headache.

    Later! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Yeah, and these two have only a sliver of the talent (and chemistry) of McAdams and Gosling. The Notebook, this is not.

      You’d roll your eyes right out of your head here Nedi, LOL. Especially at the end. That spoiler was just… wow. Incredible. ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Lol, I completely believe you when you talk about the sparks formula. I think the fact that this is the first sparks movie I’ve ever seen lent to my acceptance of it, but I have absolutely no desire to see another one as if I feel like I’ve just seen them all

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  8. The twist is so laughable ๐Ÿ˜› I’m definitely not going to see this one, I like romance films but for me they have to have good story and at least talented actors in them and that one doesn’t have those ingredients ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Nope, you’re right. It definitely doesn’t. It’s like decaffeinated coffee or something. You just know something’s missing! ๐Ÿ˜€

      And yes, that twist is flat out laughable. I laughed out loud… which is bad to do when you’re in the theatre and its not supposed to be a funny moment.

  9. Wait- is the Alex character’s last name Cross! No, oh well.
    Yeah this movie looked like catnip for some women viewers.
    I guess now it can be rerun on Lifetime TV in perpetuity.
    I wasn’t going to see it ; now I won’t see it; nice post; ridiculous twist.

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