Safe Haven (2013)

safe_havenFor a solid two acts, I couldn’t hate Safe Haven, the latest in the bland, paint-by-numbers coastal romances based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks. It was chiefly inoffensive but predictable at every step, but I didn’t mind. At this point, Sparks is a brand and you know what you’re getting. Julianne Hough (Rock of Ages) plays a woman on the run from a corrupt Boston cop. She may or may not have killed a man. She hides out in a North Carolina fishing village and comes to love a hunky widower (Josh Duhamel) with a pair of annoying kids. Their coupling is somewhat restrained given the sudsy context; they don’t kiss until close to an hour in. What benefited the film was having a dangerous external threat, the corrupt cop, circling in. This alone raised the stakes of what ordinarily would be a pleasant but mostly mild romance between two pretty people. However, it is that third act, the concluding half hour, where Safe Haven just loses its mind. One twist is a given, though it makes the Boston PD look either incompetent or collusive, but the final twist comes out of nowhere, bringing in a supernatural factor that left me gob smacked. All I kept repeating was, “What?” It’s such a contrived, immediately stupid twist ending, trying to bridge a simple romance with something like The Sixth Sense. I can’t say whether the twist existed in Sparks’ source material, but wherever it originated, I can predict you won’t find a dumber twist ending to a film all year. Safe Haven is two parts of a good-looking albeit mediocre movie with a final dash of half-baked lunacy.

Nate’s Grade: C-

About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on August 21, 2013, in 2013 Movies and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Better person than me, that’s for sure. I hated this movie with a burning passion, and that twist just added total insult, to an already infected injury. Good review Nate.

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