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Review: Safe Haven

Updated: Thursday, February 14 2013, 10:38 PM CST
By Ken The Critic @kenthecritic

Grade: C-

You know what you’re getting with a film based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, or so you think.  Unless you have read the book, you might get a surprise at the end that you just weren't expecting.  I wasn't expecting it and it ruined the whole film for me.

In Safe Haven, Director Lasse Hallstrom (Chocolat, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape) puts the same feel that was in his Cider House Rules in this film.  A young woman is trying to get away from her terrible past, so she flees to a small town in North Carolina to start a new life.  Katie (Rock of Ages' Julianne Hough) gets a job as a waitress and she tries to keep to herself, until a widower named Alex (Transformers' Josh Duhamel) lends her a hand.  He has a son and a daughter and his daughter gets close with Katie, bringing her more into Alex's life.

Katie also makes friends with her neighbor, Jo (How I Met Your Mother’s Cobie Smulders), who is very awkward and straightforward.  This relationship helps her too, but not in the way you think.  Of course, just as everything starts to go her way, her past shows up to haunt her.    

I may give too much away by saying this, but this film is where Sleeping with the Enemy meets The Notebook, except it doesn't have the essence of either one.  Safe Haven definitely has the soul of The Notebook.  There's a really strong story here, but there's one vital element that erased the hard work that had been done.  Maybe the DVD will have an alternate ending and I will love it or maybe Hallstrom should have just ending it five minutes earlier.

Ken's Movie Review Grading Scale

A – Superb and solid; a movie that will be etched in your mind 10 years from now

B – Good movie, so good in fact that you would want to see it again before it's out of the theaters; the story may drag in places

C – Average, entertaining at parts; you might want to wait and rent it

D – Lacks a lot from entertainment, plot, realism, development, etc.

F – Terrible and you will want to walk out of the movie; no redemptive qualities whatsoeverReview: Safe Haven

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