From the author who single-handedly lured tears from every eye watching The Notebook comes Safe Haven, a story written by Nicholas Sparks and transformed for the silver screen by director Lasse Hallström (who previously worked on Dear John, also adapted from a novel by Sparks).
In a society in danger of becoming anaesthetised to the gore-drenched films of today, Sparks’ sensitive stories of love provide mild relief and a different kind of escapism.
Starring the dashing Josh Duhamel (Transformers) and up-and-coming actress Julianne Hough (Rock of Ages), Safe Haven tells the story of Katie (Hough), a mysterious runaway headed for Atlanta. Stopping off in a small town in North Carolina, Katie falls in love with its peace and tranquillity, and consequently misses her coach onward. Keen to set up her new life far away from the dark past that haunts her, Katie’s actual reason for running remains ambiguous. She struggles at first to fit in with her over-friendly neighbours and is tortured by nightmares, but with time she mellows and slowly begins to form relationships with those around her.
Safe Haven very much follows the pattern of a typical love story: the characters are stereotyped and the ingredients are convenient. Katie meets Alex (Duhamel), a male “damsel in distress” character who needs saving from his tragic circumstances, and together the two of them begin to rebuild their lives. Where Safe Haven differs from the standard weepy is with an injection of suspense. Alex’s character is oblivious to Katie’s troubled history, which leads to a worrying series of climatic events. Without giving too much away, Safe Haven manages to crescendo at perfect speed bringing the characters together in a final unexpected twist. Although by no means adrenaline-pumping, the tension adds enough fizz to stop the film falling flat on its face.
Safe Haven is not nearly as hard-hitting or emotional as The Notebook, but it’s definitely worth a watch (with tissues).
Safe Haven is released nationwide on 1st March 2013.
Watch the trailer for Safe Haven here: