Abbie Bethell Staff Writer
Nicholas Sparks’s latest book adaption, Safe Haven took $21.4m during its opening weekend in the US. The movie stars Josh Duhamel (Transformers, New Years Eve) as Alex, a widower in, with two young children. He meets Katie (Julianne Hough – Footloose, Rock of Ages) a young woman who ends up in a small town, Soutport, NC, after fleeing her former life/identity. As expected the two fall in love, their journey isn’t straightforward though as Katie’s past catches soon catches up with her, with trouble on the horizon for the new couple, have they got what it takes to make the relationship work?
(Good Points) What worked:
- Duhamel and Hough have very good on-screen chemistry and make Alex and Katie seem like real people, their performances are faultless in the film.
- If you’re looking for a heart-warming film to watch, then Safe Haven is for you! There are a number of sweet/funny moments involving Alex’s children, Lexie and Josh. The bond between Katie and Lexie is really cute, it doesn’t appear to be artificial or forced like some relationships/friendships in TV/film, it feels very real
- Unlike most of Nicholas Sparks’ films, this one isn’t actually as predictable as you may think. There is a twist major rushed
twistin this one! If you’ve read the book you’ll know what I’m talking about! It doesn’t have a
majorimpact on the final events in the film, but it does however add some warmth to your heart. I must say though, after reading the book, this bit felt very
rushedfor me, instead of you figuring it out for yourself they kind of give it you, which seems like the easy option to me, it’s also less thrilling for the viewer.
(Bad Points) What didn’t work:
- Jo’s character wasn’t developed enough for me; she just pops up here and there and has no real influence in the film, whereas in the book, her role is quite significant. I’m a fan of Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother, The Avengers Assemble) and she does play her part well, I just don’t think she was in it half as much as she should’ve/could’ve been.
The same for Katie’s husband, Kevin, played by David Lyons, his character doesn’t come across the same in the film as it does in the book, which evidently affects the film, for all people that read the book. Basically, Lyon’s plays Katie’s husband, a police detective, a slightly mad alcoholic, who abuses her. However in the film he just appears to be rather desperate, whereas in the book it’s questionable as to if he has psychological issues.
- The movie wasn’t sad enough, now take this how you like, but I like to be able to emotionally connect with a film and be moved by it. Don’t get me wrong, there were points during the film where that happened, however, after tearing up numerous times during the book (don’t judge) I felt the film didn’t counter it, like the book did. I had tears in my eyes, but they never fell, which kind of sums up the film for me, it was lacking something
- I’ve never been one to read the book, then see the film, I usually just jump straight to seeing the film. Now I know why people get so annoyed, because there were a lot of ‘that didn’t happen in the book’ moments. I am fully aware that the film is an adaption of the book and not an exact replica, although with Nicholas Sparks producing, I thought it may be more similar, boy was I wrong! I felt all the important/heart-warming stuff was left out and replaced with all the mushy mumbo jumbo you see in every other Hollywood film. One example, being Alex and Katie’s relationship, it felt rushed beyond words.
My reason for this rating is because the film was enjoyable; you had the very handsome Josh Duhamel in a lead role, and upcoming actress Julianne Hough, playing very convincing lovers. Yet, it always felt like something was missing. If it wasn’t for the twist I might’ve given the film a 2.5, with the book aside, it just about scrapes a 3. I feel you’re almost better off if you haven’t read the book, because you can just enjoy the film and not be left frustrated by all that has been missed out. Overall, this film is the perfect date movie, you might cry (a letter may have something to do with this) but I somehow don’t think this film will be remembered like its sister film, The Notebook.