FILM REVIEW: SAFE HAVEN (12A)

Romantic dramas are a license to print money nowadays – but just because this comes from the man behind The Notebook, it doesn’t guarantee it’s any good.

I’ll admit to being a fan of the aforementioned film, but it did have a leading duo who could actually act – Safe Haven simply doesn’t.

Undoubtedly hunky Josh Duhamel and cute Julianne Hough make for pretty leads, but despite a late twist – that is either clever or utterly preposterous – this is slow, schmaltzy, tediously monotonous fare, that never really gets going.

When mysterious young girl Katie (Hough) ends up in the sleepy North Carolina abode of Southport to escape her abusive husband, she alienates herself on the outskirts of town to start a new life.

With only quite-annoying neighbour Jo (Cobie Smulders, SHIELD’s Agent Hill from Avengers Assemble) for company, she slowly lets her guard down and eventually befriends widower and local store-owner Alex (Duhamel), and his two (one cute, one irritating) children.


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But after being seemingly implicated in a homicide investigation that made her escape from Boston, a relentless police officer (David Lyons), will stop at nothing to trace his suspect – and turn her new world upside down.

And no, this is not a remake of Julia Roberts’ Sleeping with the Enemy.

But sadly that was better, as this slowly plods, with stumbling romantic set-pieces and a predictable storyline that brings absolutely nothing new to the genre.

It’s also boringly padded-out with surprisingly plodding direction from experienced What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Dear John helmer Lasse Hallstrom – and by the time the (maybe) shocking curveball takes place at the end, it doesn’t really resonate the way it should. Because by then, you don’t really care.

In fact, the movie that obviously should end quite sweetly – actually ends up a little creepy.

If you want a real good romance, watch author Nicholas Sparks’ far-better The Notebook again – it is a much safer bet than this soullessly cumbersome fare.

Gavin Miller

Cast: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, David Lyons, Cobie Smulders, Mimi Kirkland, Noah Lomax, Irene Ziegler, Robin Mullins

Running Time: 1hr 55mins

Director: Lasse Hallstrom [youtube id=”mj6i_Z1Srsw” width=”600″ height=”350″]


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