Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Safe Haven: Movie Review


Tricks us with the type of mystery it was and the lead deserved better.
“Safe Haven” is based on the Nicholas Sparks novel. It’s a romantic drama. This means that the Nicholas Sparks romantic drama fans will like it; those who are not fans will probably not like it. The good thing about this movie is that it tries to do something different. The bad thing is that it doesn’t work. The movie starts with a dark, thriller element that should lead to an interesting mystery, but turns out it was all nonsense. 2013

Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom

Screenplay by: Dana Stevens, Gage Lansky

Starring: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel

Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough star in Alliance Films'
SAFE HAVEN. Photo Credit: James Bridges.
Katie (Julianne Hough) is first introduced in Boston as a mysterious young woman on the run. She winds up in Southport, North Carolina where she is determined to make a new start for herself. This of course means a romance with Alex (Josh Duhamel), the local convenience store owner. Nicholas Sparks’ productions are always able to make North Carolina look so charming; picturesque small towns on the coast where one can live a simple life. And once again, that ability is on great display here as most viewers probably long for the new life that Katie is starting.

As much as I appreciated the idea of a past mystery which we, the viewer, need to solve, I think I’d prefer a simpler “what is he going to do?” type plot from “The Lucky One” (2012), rather than one that devolves into two elements – one which belongs in the 1950s and one which doesn’t belong in a movie that takes place on Earth. Without giving anything away but still warning readers, what looks like an interesting mystery that will unfold throughout the movie becomes stupid and frustrating.

Mimi Kirkland and Julianne Hough star in Alliance Films' SAFE HAVEN.
The two leads unfortunately lacked chemistry. The movie somehow doesn’t entirely need it because they made Katie an interesting and cool enough character that she doesn’t need a man to make her complete. Julianne Hough was great as Katie. She played the dark mysterious start very simple and then let her charm shine through when she arrived in her new home ready to live a life of simple joys and romance.

I really did mostly enjoy the movie up until the end. But it was like they tricked me into liking the movie by making me think it was about the mystery at the beginning but turns out it was a whole different kind of mystery. After that, all the movie has left to hang on to is the romance, but Duhamel’s Alex was pretty bland and Hough’s Katie deserved much better. We deserved much better.

Similar Titles:

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012) - Clever and witty dialogue turn this romantic comedy disaster into a charming comedy.

The Art of Getting By (2011) - Asking the question, "What's the point?" But then doesn't deliver much.