On The Edge Films

Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds

Safe Haven

2013/ USA

Director: Lasse Hallström

Starring: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, Coby Smulders, David Lyons, Noah Lomax, Mimi Kirkland

Romance movies seem to be very popular with the girls following the ‘Twilight Saga’. Nicholas Sparks is the bestselling author behind the films ‘The Notebook and ‘Dear John and is the author behind this latest film Safe Haven, only how does it compare? In all honesty, not so well in comparison to ‘The Notebook’, this is a heart-tugging love story of a couple coping with the neurodegenerative Alzheimer’s disease. Safe Haven is an average melodramatic love story, that appears to have a lot of similarities to the 1991 film ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’.

Safe Haven tells of a young woman called Katie, played by Julianne Hough, who appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport. With brief flashbacks, we suspect something dangerous about her past as questions are raised. Initially, Katie is reluctant to form relationships with people. As time goes by, Katie lets her guard down as she begins to fall for the kind hearted Alex, played by Josh Duhamel, who is widowed with two children. As their relationship begins to blossom as does her newly found friendship with her neighbour Jo (How I Met Your Mother Star- Coby Smulders), there remains dark secrets from her past that come back to haunt her.

Safe Haven is an average film, with average performances from Hough and Duhamel but is your traditional love story to cheer up your day with that happy ending we all thrive on. Some may say that the twist to this romance is great, some may say it is mediocre, I say that the twist is a nice change to the usual Nicholas Sparks novel adaptation. However, we know all too much, all too soon. The secrets are unveiled far too early, with the suspense gone and the predictability staring you in the face, the thrill disappears as we await what we know is to come. If you want a thriller to thrive off, watch something else, if you want a romance to lust over, watch something else. Safe Haven is no romantic thriller but a mere melodramatic romance that is okay to watch once. Having combined the love story to a tale of dark and mysterious secrets does not fit together well, especially as the audience know what will happen for the majority of film. I would recommend Safe Haven as a onetime watch, but be prepared to lower your expectations.


-Becca Darbyshire


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