Safe Haven (12A)
- Starring: Josh Duhamel, Julianne Hough, Cobie Smulders, Irene Ziegler, David Lyons
- Director: Lasse Hallstrom
- Duration: 115 mins
- Year: 2013
Erin Tierney boards a bus bound for Atlanta and alights early in the quaint fishing community of Southport. She rechristens herself Katie Feldman and sparks romance with hunky widower Alex Wheatley.
Alison Rowat's Review
Lasse Hallstroms adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel is sure to provide a safe haven in the cinema for anyone in search of a warm, soothing, sun-dappled romantic tale with added marshmallows of soppiness on top.
All the usual ingredients of a Sparks tale are here a cute heroine (Julianne Hough), a strong-jawed, kindly hero (Josh Duhamel), a couple of gorgeous kids, a whiff of sadness, and a picture postcard setting stuffed with fishing boats, homely restaurants and good neighbours.
This time, though, there is an added edginess as we find out more about Katie (Hough). She has moved across the country to start a new life, is clearly in need of friends, yet she is desperate to keep everyone at a distance.
The injection of thriller elements is a welcome, and well done, change of pace and style. Alas, it doesnt last long enough. Before you know it, Hallstroms film has settled into a too familiar groove. In short, catnip if you are a fan, a head-nipper if not.
Paul Greenwood's Review
The latest from the Nicholas Sparks production line stars Julianne Hough as a young woman, on the run for reasons unknown, who escapes on a bus and ends up in a small Carolina coastal town.
Following the Sparks blueprint to the letter, we get the newcomer with a secret in a picturesque town, a love interest (Josh Duhamels hunky widower), golden photography and a late surge into melodrama.
Its a gentle romance populated by solid enough actors that neither raises the pulse nor truly annoys, but theres only so many times we can swallow the same pudding.
But what marks Safe Haven out from the bunch, and what could see it reinvent itself as a cult classic, is a late twist so risible that it leaves simply being bad far behind, and approaches jaw-dropping.