There was no mystery of who wrote ‘Safe Haven’, it has ‘Nicholas Sparks’ written all over it, even the title was screaming his name, however, although I usually give soppy romantic films a miss, I was bored.
So the plot? Well, you can usually guess the basic plot of any Nicholas Sparks novels or film adaptations but for those who can’t, here it is.
Safe Haven follows a young woman, Katie (Julianne Hough), who appears to be on the run for suspected murder, however, this claim was false and the cop in charge of this claim is her abusive, alcoholic husband who is using this as a vice to get her back. Katie then ends up in a small, close knit town, where she meets her new love, Alex (Josh Duhamel), who is a widower with 2 young children. Together they must try and overcome Katie’s ‘trust issues’ as well as prevent her abusive husband from harming her once more. Could Alex really be her ‘safe haven’? (obviously)
Being written by Nicholas Sparks, it of course tries to tackle a serious situation, such as domestic violence, and at the same time completely romanticizes it. This film juxtaposes mystery and soppy romance. There was also a plot twist, although this may be over-exaggerating slightly as it wasn’t surprising; diverting every other part of the story and trying to throw the audience ‘off the scent’ is quite a big give away that a plot twist is too come. The story was predictable (although that is a given if you enter the cinema knowing you are watching a Nicholas Sparks adaptation) and was unoriginal. This film is just ridiculously cliche; the twist at the end was overwhelming, and not in a good way. This film was pretty much a huge dollop of ‘divine intervention’.
As for the director? I sort of respect Lasse Hallström (despite him having the same first name as the beloved dog) for hopelessly attempting to add in some tension. I suppose there was some tension, we are not talking ‘Taxi Driver’ tension, more the kind that you experience when waiting to see if you have enough points on your loyalty card to buy a cinema ticket.
As for the acting? It was ok. They did seem to make the best out of what was, a pretty shoddy script. The chemistry was quite believable although I did completely lack interest and the characters surprisingly were not stoic. They aren’t that annoying, and I suppose that is the best compliment you can give to actors who star in a Nicholas Sparks adaptation, or an romdram for that matter. Obviously both stars were good looking, it wouldn’t work otherwise? Who wants to see an average looking persons love story? The film really did try to hard to incorporate genres that really didn’t fit, and make absolutely no sense.
All in all, the film was pretty damn laughable. The plot twist at the end had me in hysterics and there was an audible uproar of laughter and negative gasps as mocking chatter ,of the story-line and the twist, was easily heard. I think the biggest problem was that it was really just too predictable. There were also extreme continuity errors that I found, as well as things making no sense, the film was not tied together, instead leaving pieces just lying around and mysteries unsolved. Really, I should have learnt from Dear John, The Notebook and The Lucky One; I think it is safe to say, that I will now be steering clear of soppy romantics, and that Nicholas Sparks really isn’t my ‘safe haven’.