|Reviewed on 2013-02-14|
|Received|| out of 4 stars|
| The novels by Nicholas Sparks’ have finally been redeemed. After a run of several disappointing films (“Dear John”;“The Lucky One”;”The Last Song”) “Safe Haven” has put Sparks’ name back on the big screen in a positive way. Starring Julianne Hough as Katie, a girl on the run looking for a clean slate. Leaving the bustling city of Boston she winds up in a small close knit town where everybody knows your name. It is obvious that this girl is not looking for any allies and is hiding a deep dark secret.
As much as Katie would like to stay secluded and friendless that is not possible in Southport. People want to get to know you and be your friend. Her neighbor Jo (Cobie Smulders) pushes through Katie’s defenses and the two girls become friends. As Katie begins to put her guard down she takes an interest in local mart owner Alex (Josh Duhamel). Alex is charismatic and a genuinely nice guy in town, who recently lost his wife to cancer and is raising two young children on his own.
The attraction between the two is immediate but Katie still has her walls up. As she begins to build a relationship with his daughter Lexie (Mimi Kirkland) she can’t resist his charming appeal and agrees to go on a date with him. As with any world wind romance Alex takes her canoeing to a beautiful spot only to catch them in a rainstorm (much like “The Notebook”). With their relationship growing and becoming more stronger it seems Katie’s past will catch up with her and Alex will have to make a difficult choice.
“Safe Haven” is a beautiful romance that will be the perfect Valentine date. Julianne Hough is much improved since her “Rock of Ages” performance and Josh Duhamel provided an ample amount of eye candy. The charisma the two share ignites the screen. I have not been impressed with many of Sparks’ films since “The Notebook”, but “Safe Haven” captivated me. Especially in the final scenes I found myself getting chills from an unexpected turn of events. This is a definite chick flick and a must see at that. Get the girlfriends together or beg your Valentine to take you out for this tale of true love.