Valentine’s Marathon: Safe Haven (2013)

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends! I hope that you’ve found some plans to share with your loved ones whether it be spouses, partners, boyfriend/girlfriend or even best friends.  Its really about celebrating love, right? Hey, I have a date with my oven and baking supplies and my TV and stack of rom-coms.  Oh, wait, you meant a living thing? My little cat is my date tonight 🙂

From the beginning of February till now, I’ve spent two weeks watching a few others but mostly focused on the Nicholas Sparks marathon.  We’ve finally reached the last one and his most recent adaptation from his novel, Safe Haven.  I read one review back then that revealed the twist so I already know that going in.  Either way, I didn’t even remember much of the plot and I never read the book.  Honestly, I was near finishing the last season of Gossip Girl and I almost didn’t even watch this, but I did because I like to wrap things up nicely 🙂 Lets check it out, shall we?

safe haven posterDirector: Lasse Hallstrom

Cast: Josh Duhamel, Julianne Hough, Cobie Smulders, David Lyons, Noah Lomax, Mimi Kirkland

Katie (Julianne Hough) runs away from her home in panic, jumps on a bus evading the police and ends up in South Port.  There she meets the widowed father, Alex (Josh Duhamel) who runs a gas station/corner store.  She watches as he tries his best to keep his family moving forward while trying to move on from losing his precious wife to cancer. After Katie settles in at the local restaurant and slowly adapts to this new secluded and slower lifestyle, she also starts getting closer to Alex and his family.  At the same time, she builds a relationship with another nearby neighbor Jo (Cobie Smulders) who helps her sort out her feelings.  But when her past starts chasing after her, she is threatened to leave South Port and the people that she has learned to love and appreciate and she also may lose the only safe place that she has finally found.

safe haven katie alex

I went into this marathon somewhat dreading it and honestly, other than a few road bumps in the middle, I’m glad that I found and bought Safe Haven. I mean, I knew the twist and maybe you know it, heard of it or just don’t care or you’d like to find out so I kept that hidden.  Its somewhat silly in a way but then would it be such a bad idea if that actually happened? I don’t think so.  I’d like to think that I could do that also if it ever happened.  Safe Haven may be pretty much hated by a lot of people and if its anything I’ve learned from this marathon, a lot of people are just not fans.  It suffers from being formulaic and attempts to manipulate our emotions but I mean, isn’t that what romance movies usually do? Anyways, I’ve accepted it.  As long as its within reasonable tolerable levels for me, I can deal with it. With that said, Safe Haven really does give a solid love story.  Maybe one of the few where I bought a lot of it.  Sure, there’s things that don’t make sense here and there but its a romance, ok? Love doesn’t have to make sense.

safe haven katie alex kiss

We are grow from pain and we move forward and we have to have the courage the better and the good that happens to us. Sure, it doesn’t evolve at the pace of Nicholas Sparks novels but sometimes, maybe it does. I’m not a love expert.  Either way, point being these two characters here Alex and Katie are played by Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough respectively.  I don’t know much of what they did and they’ve never impressed me much, so I didn’t really care much but I think I just fell a little more in love with Josh Duhamel after this movie.  Plus, I take back all the chemistry comments about the previous movies in the Sparks marathon (except A Walk to Remember) because these two are awesome.  I think its because of the chemistry and more slowly developed relationship due to the kids involvement, it turns into some sweet.  Its two people trying to move forward slowly from their pain and trust and love each other. I guess it resounds to me because feeling safe is really an issue for me and when I found it, its quite inexplicable and thats how I felt about that here.

safe haven husband

What I really liked about this is that one also is that its not just a love story and then a little climax with whatever was going on, a death or a loss or whatnot, this time there’s a physical shift to the cop chasing down Katie and how he inches closer and flashbacks of why she had to leave.  It reveals who she truly is, whether she’s good or bad. It adds a bit more of a complex situation and because the cop (played by David Lyons and shown up there)  turns out to be more and he’s expands on the set of problems already, it adds a bit of intensity.  Its a nice up in pace after watching the previous ones.  The feeling is a tad different as well and honestly, as a movie, its more well-rounded than I’d have imagined.

safe haven jo and katie

Overall, I enjoyed this one.  Julianne Hough does good and Josh Duhamel is charming as hell.  I just actually realized it.  They have really good chemistry which makes a good part of a romance.  The supporting characters add positively to the script.  The twist might turn some off but I felt like it was a nice idea.  The movie itself gave me a feeling of freedom and the comfort of finding safety and feeling secure.  All this had some pretty lighthearted music when they were in South Port.  Honestly, it had a feel good factor and hints of intensity and changed the pace from an expected Nicholas Sparks adaptation.  I was happy with it overall.

I’m sure there’s some epic Oscar nominated or winner romance that will beat this and you know before you walk into this one, its not going to be one of those so you just need to go in with an open heart and enjoy what it offers if you’re into romance of course.  I’m saying right now, Nicholas Sparks is really meant for those full-on romantic at heart (which I am because I like corny and mushy romance-y things).  If you know you’re more the realistic lover, well, this is not your thing.

What did you think of Safe Haven? What are your thoughts on Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough? Are there movies of theirs that you like? 

I’m a bit behind schedule with today’s posts but I promise another post this evening.  I do want to get a special post out but I’m having some technical difficulties and can only deal with it after work so I’m looking for an alternative right now 🙂

19 thoughts on “Valentine’s Marathon: Safe Haven (2013)

  1. Good review. That twist ending is just awful. And the flick as a whole is a bit undercooked, but it isn’t without merit.

    I don’t like it as much as you, but I don’t entirely hate it either.

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    • Haha! nah, I wouldn’t hate anyone for not liking Nicholas Sparks. I used to like him a lot more than I do now. Now I tolerate him. This was supposed to be just a push to watch movies that I had on my shelf for ages and it worked. I made it through without depression. 🙂 And well, lets just say, Josh Duhamel is no Richard Armitage 😉

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    • I knew you would 🙂 Thats okay. Romance is probably just not your genre. My boyfriend hates all these movies too.. he usually stops by and mocks them and then exits the room to do something else. I think the only one he mildly accepted was A Walk to Remember.

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  2. I love this movie and besides The Lucky One, this is my favorite Sparks movie. As lame as the two plot twists are, I didnt see them coming, which made me appreciate them more. Great review.

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  3. Pingback: Sunday Lists: Nicholas Sparks Adaptations Best to Worst | Tranquil Dreams

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