Safe Haven (2013)

Safe Haven
Director: Lasse Hallström
Writer: Leslie Bohem, Dana Stevens
Based on: Nicholas Sparks‘ novel
Cast: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, Cobie Smulders, David Lyons, Mimi Kirkland, Noah Lomax

Katie (Julianne Hough) is on the run. While Det. Tierney (David Lyons) is searching for her, she manages to escape and ends up in a small town in the middle of nowhere. She decides to settle down there for a bit, however uneasy. Soon she starts a friendship with her neighbor Jo (Cobie Smulders) and with the town’s grocery store owner Alex (Josh Duhamel), a widower with two kids. But Katie isn’t safe yet.

You know, there are the kind of Nicholas Sparks movies where you might feel a bit ashamed to admit it, but they do touch you in all their unabashed cheesiness (case in point: The Notebook. How I bawled!). And then there are the films like this one where it’s all just too much and you can’t take it seriously anymore at all.


The utterly bland cast was probably the first misstep. I mean, I swear I already forgot Julianne Gough’s face immediately after every time I saw the trailer. And it’s no better now that I’ve seen the movie. Yes, she’s pretty, but in such a smooth way, your eyes don’t get a grip when you try to look at her. If you know what I mean. And her performance certainly doesn’t make her stand out, either.

At least that way she and Josh Duhamel are a good fit. The people who stood out most are the utterly cute children. Who were certainly precocious, flat movie-children, but very sweet. Cobie Smulders doesn’t get much to do, unfortunately.


And here’s my biggest beef with the film: I was so happy that we got to see a nice, supportive friendship between two women in Katie and Jo. That Alex isn’t Katie’s entire world all of a sudden, and she needs only him. But then [SPOILERS] it turns out that Jo doesn’t actually exist because she’s Alex’ dead wife and she only stayed on earth to give Alex’ new woman her blessing and to tell her to take good care of him and I mean WHAT????!!! [/SPOILERS] Fuck you, movie. Fuck you.

But even without the ridiculousness that is this plot twist, the film just doesn’t work. You don’t believe for even a second that Katie could have really done something wrong, so that part completely falls apart. Plus, there are scenes where Alex behaves like an idiot who has never heard of boundaries, but in the end, it’s always Katie who apologizes and gives in because her lesson is to trust people. Or something. But worst of all, there’s just no chemistry between Katie and Alex.


Summarising: Rather (re-)watch The Notebook.

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