Author Nicholas Sparks is at it again; another one of his notorious romance novels hit the big screen on Valentines Day. While most of Sparks’ stories are known for being light hearted and gushy, Safe Haven touches on some of the darker sides of “love” such as domestic violence. But, do not fret, Sparks still finds a way to be completely cheesy.
The movie opens with main character, Erin Tierney played by rookie actress Julianne Hough, running away from a bloody mess with a knife in her hand. With the help of a neighbor, Tierney boards a random bus headed down South. When her bus takes a quick pit stop in Southport, North Carolina, Tierney decides to make this small town a more permanent stay. She introduces herself to locals as Katie and thus begins her new identity.
Before viewers can truly process the last thirty minutes of the movie, in typical Nicholas Sparks fashion, Katie is falling in love. Alex Wheatley, played by Josh Duhamel, is a single dad that owns the local convenience store in Southport and he has his eye on Katie from the start. His wife died of cancer and he is raising a rebellious little boy and sweet little girl all on his own. Alex finds Katie mysterious and her good looks are undeniable.
In the midst of the chaos of adjusting to small-town life, Katie befriends a female neighbor named Jo. Throughout the movie Jo appears and always seems to have Katie’s best interest in mind.
As time goes on, the relationship between Katie and Alex ultimately progresses. Alex and Katie spend the day at the beach, they utter quotes to each other that will be found as girls Facebook statuses for the next year and they lovingly gaze into each other’s eyes.
All seems perfect. Well, that is until Alex finds a wanted for murder poster at the local police station, with Katie’s picture on it. Both Alex and Katie’s world suddenly begins crumbling around them. Her past life as Erin has caught up to her.
Is this movie foreseeable? Yes. Unrealistic? Oh Yes. Does it end with happily ever after? Obviously, it’s a Nicholas Sparks movie.
Even though Safe Haven was not Josh Duhamel’s first rodeo, the acting is still pretty awful. But, lets be serious, has their ever really been a Nicholas Sparks movie with exceptional acting?
It could definitely be argued this movie is slightly insulting. Sparks has a way of making his female characters seem weak with men swooping in to save them at just the right time. While this movie makes main character Katie seem a little more independent than most Sparks movies, her tendency to fall head over heels for strange men, leaves me wondering, why can’t a woman just save herself for once?
For St. John’s students looking for a romantic night out, but not looking to spend an arm and a leg on a candlelight dinner in Manhattan, this movie isn’t too bad. It is not the type of movie that will leave you questioning life, analyzing its aesthetics or feeling emotionally attached to its characters. But, it’s a nice predictable romance movie that can be kept in your DVD collection next to, “The Notebook” and “A Walk to Remember.”