Summary: When a mysterious young woman named Katie washes up in the small North Carolina town of Southport, she is determined not to make personal relationships. That is, until she meets Alex, a kind-hearted widowed store owner, struggling to raise his two children. When Katie feels herself falling for him, she must choose between familar safety and the perils that come with love. Based on the acclaimed novel by Nicholas Sparks.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th February, 2013
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Screenwriter: Leslie Bohem, Dana Stevens, Nicholas Sparks (book)
Cast: George Dawe (Lt. Blakely), Daniel Cochran Donovan (Mr. Feldman), Josh Duhamel (Alex), Julianne Hough (Katie), Mimi Kirkland (Lexie), Noah Lomax (Josh), David Lyons (Tierney), Cullen Moss (Police Officer Bass), Robin Mullens (Maddie), Juan Piedrahita (Jr. Detective Ramirez), Mike Pniewski (Lieutenant Robinson), Ric Reitz (Police Chief Mulligan), Cobie Smulders (Jo), Red West (Roger), Irene Ziegler (Mrs. Feldman)
Runtime: 118 mins
Dave Griffiths’s ‘Safe Haven’ Review:
Romantic dramas are always designed for woman and poor men dragged along to see them have to sit them and get bored, right? Wrong! Author Nicholas Sparks seems to have been on a one man mission over the last few years to change that very perception. Certainly his film ‘The Notebook’ seemed to affect men more than woman and now he has delivered ‘Safe Haven’ a film that is a romance at heart but also features a suspense/thriller storyline that is guaranteed to impress film goers of both sexes.
Based on Nicholas Sparks’ best-selling novel of the same name ‘Safe Haven’ starts with young Katie (Julianne Hough – ‘Rock Of Ages’, ‘Footloose’) desperate to find a bus anywhere as she seeks to escape from Detective Tierney (David Lyons – ‘Save Your Legs’, ‘Swerve’), who highlights her as a murder suspect. Katie jumps onto the first bus she can get onto and soon finds herself in the small coastal town of Southport (in North Carolina) where she decides she can hideout.
Katie quickly finds a house and a job and she plans to try and keep herself as ‘out-of-sight’ as possible, but that plan fails as she soon as her next-door neighbour Jo (Cobie Smulders – ‘The Avengers’, TV’S ‘How I Met Your Mother’) while she finds herself drawing closer to the local shopkeeper, Alex (Josh Duhamel – ‘Movie 43’, ‘New Year’s Eve’) and his two children Josh (Noah Lomax – ‘Playing For Keeps’, TV’S ‘Mad Love’) and Lexie (Mimi Kirkland – newcomer). But no matter what Katie tries to do with her life she soon discovers that you can’t just run from your past.
Director Lasse Hallstrom (The Hypnotist, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen) does a great job making sure the romance and suspense genres flow together brilliantly in this film. OF course he is helped out by a wonderful script that not only sees a great set-up of characters but also delivers a powerful twist that comes out of nowhere, although be warned before this occurs those who love a good crime thriller may be questioning some of the things that are happening but the twist answers everything.
The other thing that the screenwriting team have done so well is create characters that are believable and more importantly ones that are easy to care about. While there are a lot questions you want to ask about Katie early on she is still likable, while Alex and his kids never put a foot wrong so you certainly don’t want to see anything happen to them.
‘Safe Haven’ also gives the cast an amazing chance to show what they are really capable of. In Hollywood Julianne Hough is known for her singing and dancing but her she plays a dramatic role with ease and she makes the perfect couple with Josh Duhamel who shows that he more than capable than just fighting large robots in ‘Transformers’. Aussie David Lyons (who most would remember from ‘Sea Patrol’ also does a sensational job in a testing role, while youngster Mimi Kirkland does enough to suggest that she is one of the most talented child actors going around.
This is one romantic drama that is certainly worth the price of admission and is proof that when a film is done right in this genre, it can work really well.
Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Save Haven′: Check Episode #20 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Safe Haven’. Dave’s other review of Safe Haven can also be read on the Helium Entertainment Channel.