Film review: Safe HavenBy Kim Francis
February 27, 2013
When romantic dramas are done well, they’re among the most satisfying and moving of movies. After all, everybody loves falling in love, don’t they?
So watching a romance unfolding on screen can hold an indulgent mirror up to our own cherished experiences. Sadly, romantic films frequently get a bad rap – and it’s the fault of films like Safe Haven.
When Katie (Julianne Hough, best known as the sister of dancer Derek, who dated Cheryl Cole) turns up in the quiet coastal town of Southport, North Carolina, all cagey and alone, she can’t help but fall for handsome local convenience store owner Alex (Josh Duhamel, better known as the other half of Black Eyed Pea Fergie).
But, as their bond deepens and her past catches up with her, she is forced to confront her recent history – and stop running away.
Sleeping with the Enemy for the Twilight generation, Safe Haven is a schmaltzy love story from the pen of Nicholas Sparks, the mushy scribe behind novels-turned-movies The Notebook and Dear John, among others.
Like its forerunners, Safe Haven is unashamedly romantic.
But here it’s in a particularly clichéd way; the film is formulaic and predictable – and hence ridiculous.
There’s a twist at the end that you’ll see coming a mile off, but you will nevertheless find it almost impossible to believe they’ve got the brazenness to do it.
Shot in Southport like a handful of other films and television series, the best thing about Safe Haven is its idyllic location and the enviable laid back lifestyle it portrays.
In director Lasse Hallstrom’s capable hands, you’d expect the film to be at least passable – he’s got Chocolat and The Cider House Rules in his back catalogue – but Safe Haven will only find a market among teens or those keen to indulge a guilty pleasure.
And so they should feel guilty, because this is utterly dreadful.