3D 5th Wave 80s Cinema A Night of Horror Action Adaptation Adelaide Film Festival Adventure Advocacy Age of Adaline aliens altzheimers amazon Amitabh Bachchan Animation anime Ari Gold Art Asian Cinema Australian film AV Industry Bad Robot BDSM Beach Boys Berlinale BFG Bianca Biasi Big Hero 6 Biography Biopic Blake Lively Bollywood Breast Cancer Brian Wilson Brisbane Camille Keenan Cancer candyman Cannes cannibalism Cannon Films Cesars CGI Chapman To Character Actors Charlie Hunnam Charlize Theron Chemsex China Lion Chloe Grace Moretz Chris Hemsworth Chris Pratt Christchurch christian cinema Christopher Nolan Close Encounters Cloverfield Comedy Coming-of-Age Conspiracy Crowd-sourced Cult Cure Dakota Johnson Dardennes Brothers Debut Deepika Padukone Depression Disney Diversity Documentary doomsday Dr Moreau drama Dustin Clare Dystopic EL James eli roth Elizabeth Banks Entourage Environmental Epic Erotic Cinema Extreme Sports faith-based Family Film Fantasy Father Daughter Fifty Shades of Grey Film Film Festival Foreign found footage French Cinema Friendship Gay Cinema Ghostbusters Ghosts Golan Globus Gothic green inferno Guardians of the Galaxy Guillermo del Toro Hacker Han Solo Happiness Harrison Ford Harry Dean Stanton Hasbro Haunted house Hhorror Himalaya Hollywood Holocaust horror Horror Film Housebound Hunger Games Idris Elba IFC Midnight IMAX In Your Eyes Independence Day Independent Indian Film Indigenous Infini International Film Internet Interstellar Iron Man 3 Irrfan Khan James Gunn Jamie Dornan Jedi Jeff Krulik Jennifer Kent Jennifer Peedom Jeremy Piven jesus christ JJ Abrams John Cusack Josie Ho Joss Whedon Kathmandu kite Kristen Stewart Kristen Wiig Ladyhawke latter day saints; kevin sorbo


Stars: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, David Lyons,  Cobie Smulders, Noah lomax, Mimi Kirkland, Ric Reitz, Cullen Moss, Robin Mullens and Red West.
Writers: Leslie Bohem and Dana Stevens; based upon the novel by Nicholas Sparks.
Director: Lasse Hallström

Rating: 2.5/5

“Nothing very much exciting happens, but it sure is beautiful,” utters our square-jawed leading man Josh Duhamel, and there is no more apt description of Safe Haven. Yet another bewilderingly bland late-career effort from the once important Lasse Hallström and his second adaptation of a Nicholas Spark’s novel, this Valentine’s Day programmer will earn serious points for patient boyfriends but in every other respect is slumber party home-video fodder.

Hallström’s melodrama is essentially a reworking of Joseph Ruben’s Sleeping With The Enemy, in which Julia Roberts flees a violent Patrick Bergen to start all over again in a small town with Kevin O’Connor, only to have Bergen reappear for a third act face-off. Roberts was a winning screen presence who drew audience empathy effortlessly (in what was an otherwise dire effort); Hallström is lumbered with the exceedingly pretty but one-note Julianne Hough as Katie, who we glimpse in flashback blood-stained and fleeing what appears to be a murder scene.

Clearly a strategic career move to alter perceptions regarding the young actress’ range after song-and-dance parts in Burlesque, Footloose and Rock of Ages, Hough’s greatest achievement is reminding audiences of Meg Ryan in her prime. Co-scripters Leslie Bohem and Dana Stevens struggle to give her anything remotely engaging to say, thereby relying upon the actress’ admittedly endearing physicality to convey character depth.

That said, her chemistry with the increasingly reliable Duhamel is solid, his single-dad Alex the film’s most fully realised character (though, it must be said, his wavy hair and tragic past is classic ‘airport-romance hero’). Acts 1 and 2 are almost entirely their burgeoning, getting’-to-know-you romance, which is cute but dry-docks any pretence of suspense or narrative momentum. The ‘Bergen’ is played by David Lyons, who nails ‘violent-drunk’ convincingly in flashback domestic scenes that are lit with unsubtle, Hostel-like darkness, but whose home-grown skills (NIDA, Class of 2004) can’t pull off some nonsensical police-procedural scenes that damages all sub-plotting credibility.

Support player Cobie Smulders impresses here to far less an extent than she did in The Avengers, her character’s very existence proving to be the films ultimate undoing (no spoilers, but….really?). The idyllic seaside village in which the action takes place is the film’s real star, its salty flavour and surrounding woodlands beautifully captured by DoP Terry Stacey. A heartfelt interlude in which Katie and Alex are caught in a bayou thunderstorm is lovingly rendered (author Sparks loves rain; remember The Notebook?), but it’s sweet romanticism only serves to highlight how lacking in that crucial component the film really is.

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: Lyon France
    screen-space - Reviews - SAFE HAVEN
  • Response
    screen-space - Reviews - SAFE HAVEN

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>