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69 out of 92 people found the following review useful:

Missing too many parts that are crucial to the storyline

3/10
Author: kasia-cimeries44 from poland
16 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Where to start?... I went to see that movie with uneasy feeling that I'm going to be disappointed and I was unfortunately right. For somebody who didn't read a book it is going to be another love story with a little thriller in it, for me it was a BAD adaptation of very excellent book. I actually knew from the beginning that movies rarely are better than book but some of them at least focus on a important details that are crucial for the storyline. This time like I suspected they missed the most important parts and replaced it with some cheap lovey dovey "I love you" moments. The escape part was showed fast and without pretty much explanation. OK. So we see husband that had too much to drink fighting with his wife, hits her couple of times, throws her on the floor than she grabs the knife and stabs him, after that she runs over to her neighbor and next thing we see is her buying a ticket and getting on the bus and leaving. The same time we can see her husband looking for her, stopping buses running like nothing had happened to him. No stab wounds. Nothing. The book was so much more intense. She was actually planning to escape for almost a year. Stealing money form his wallet, planning everything step by step. It was slow and nerve wracking process that made a reader chew his/her nails. In the movie everything happens so fast you don't even know when it started and when it ended. Also Katie's husband character wasn't showed like I would like it to be presented. He was psychopath, not only an alcoholic. His obsession with Bible and Bible's rules was a crucial point of that story. She didn't run away from abusive alcoholic husband, she run away from sick person. They didn't show it in the movie. They didn't show how twisted his mind was. I think sometimes, that he was the most important character in that story. David Lyons was a perfect for that role, I wish I could see more of his character on the screen that's all. Katie in a movie (payed by Hough) didn't convince me at all. She was looking healthy and pretty like she just came back from vacation, not run away from the hell. Katie in a book was scared, skinny, bitten up and tired. The process of her getting to know Alex was long. She didn't trust anyone for a long time. Josh Duhamel was a good choice in my opinion for Alex's character. He was good looking but not too good looking, he was very easy going, and acted very natural around the kids. But yet as a star of the movie his character was covering more important parts. It was just too much of him in some moments. The other thing they fail to do is to build up Jo character a little bit more. She was Katie's only friend there and they hang out together more often that they show in the movie. The very important conversation between two of them was missing in the movie and I felt like there was unfinished business out there. The turning point was oversimplified. Tierney finally found Katie and asked her to come home with him, when she declined he decided to burn the house down. In the book that process was slow and complex. From the very first time he sees them together to the last moment of his life, reader doesn't know what is going to happen. Why he decided to burn the place down with Katie in it?? Because bible says that when she cheats she will burn in internal flame. That was the reason why he started the fire in the first place. Alex again became a hero saving his daughter from the fire. In the book he didn't show up until everything was pretty much over. It was Katie who fought with Kevin and it was her who saved the kids. I give the movie 3+. If you didn't read the book it's going to be another love story out there. Nothing more, nothing less.

ps. Please excuse my English. I'm from Europe and this is not my native language.

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42 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

A real surprise and touching ending to this romantic thriller

7/10
Author: JohnRayPeterson from Montreal, Canada
25 April 2013

Director Lasse Hallström pulls off a surprise ending to this otherwise seemingly ordinary romantic thriller; in doing so, he redeemed what would otherwise have been a movie not worth a mention. Sure, the movie is sweet for the most part and the dramatic moments are nothing to brag about, but Hallström has been hiding the real love story all along; when it's revealed in the last scenes, we ask ourselves, how could I have not seen this and then you melt. But you do have to stick it out to the end. I don't wish to spill the beans so I'll keep mum about it. I understand some viewers are not going to be interested in the movie because of the cast, but the director's following is not without merit; after all he delivered Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Chocolat and Cider House Rules, and it's his uncanny ability to tell a story like no others is what made me want to watch the movie.

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46 out of 65 people found the following review useful:

good entertainment, but certainly a chick flick

7/10
Author: portsea from Australia
18 February 2013

I took my girlfriend to see this, mostly as she cant miss a love story film.... she wasn't disappointed with this. She loved every minute of it. As a male, I thought it was a bit wet, but still enjoyed it. Hough was an easy actress to watch, not only pretty, but accomplished at her art. This was seemingly written for her girlish look and persona. The scenery and cinematography were nothing short of amazing... Locations were perfect, id live there in a heartbeat.... Duhamal was frankly excellent in this role too, he played his part perfectly, and was the perfect choice for this film.

The script was given a twist, and I sat through most of the film not quiet sure what was going to happen next, it definitely kept me intrigued, although I found it a little slow at a few points, i still walked away liking the film as a whole.

Definitely worth going to see, certainly on the big screen, as the locations were amazing....

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32 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

A Love That Stands The Test of Time!

9/10
Author: HollywoodJunket
15 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As human nature would have it, it's not a rare thing to fall in and out of love a number of times in one person's lifetime. But, then, there are those even more rare cases of finding the one true love that may occur only once in a person's life and lasting even longer than a lifetime. Relativity Media's "Safe Haven", directed by Lasse Hallstrom is a story about one of those such rare cases.

Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, the story opens with a young woman, who simply goes by "Katie", played by Julianne Hough, as she is seen fiercely escaping danger. It's not yet revealed what the circumstances are. She resurfaces in the small, ocean side tourist town of Southport in North Carolina, which is also where the film was shot.

Her small town surroundings and the people within it embrace Katie a lot sooner than she is ready to reciprocate. One such resident being Alex (Josh Duhamel) who is a father of two and a widower of four years loosing his wife to cancer. A very guarded Katie is constantly reminded of her runaway status from, as more of her back-story is revealed, her husband who is a Boston police detective (David Lyons) in charge of locating escaped criminals.

With a small window of opportunity to get to know Alex and his family more, Katie decides to enter their lives as his kids start to grow more fond of her. However, when her husband's detective skills lead him directly to her, a series of events results in a new awakening for Katie and Alex's family alike where new beginnings are a welcome.

The last fifteen minutes of "Safe Haven" includes a real tear-jerker and a surprise ending is revealed. I challenge anyone to have a dry eye after that. Josh Duhamel as "Alex" and Julianne Hough as "Katie" were a perfect fit and carried the storyline perfectly.

Also very impressive performances came from child actors Noah Lomaz as "Josh", Alex's son, and Mimi Kirland as "Lexie", Alex's daughter...Full Review at HollywoodJunket.com -Hollywood Junket

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56 out of 99 people found the following review useful:

the ending will blow your mind...good movie but not that well romantic thanks to Lasse Hallström

7/10
Author: Abed Naddaf (tristaover)
14 February 2013

if you are looking for a love movie then you had made the right choice this movie is a simple story yet good story lining not as well as your expectations but you will love it. if your hoping for a second notebook you have to know its not that good...

okay maybe Julianne Hough is not the right actress to be in this role but she did her best and you may like her innocence in her role but i didn't like her so much...

Directed by Lasse Hallström, the movie will teach us that in the darkest hour, love is the only light that shines there in… the dark…or something like that. An affirming and suspenseful story about a young woman's struggle to love again description will work out just fine...

i don't want to talk so much about the movie go watch it what are you waiting for and maybe you will use some tissues so go for it and have a good time...

its my first review and I'm not good as well in English hope it helps tank you for reading...

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32 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Very good movie with a great ending

8/10
Author: lansdenrs
16 February 2013

Josh Duhamel was awesome in this movie. He played a sweet sensible guy that was perfect for Julianne Hough. This movie had a great plot with good romance combined with a mystery and drama. It was worth every penny I spent on valentines day. The final 10 minutes was probably my favorite part. It had a big twist that got me and has stuck with me since i saw it. The writing was excellent as was the directing. It was one of the better romance movies I have seen in a while. It was a perfect valentine movie. When I went I really didn't think that.

If you are looking for a romantic drama to spend with you wife/husband look no further than Safe Haven.

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27 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

A Little Bit Bland

6/10
Author: rebecca-ry from North Lanarkshire, Scotland
24 March 2013

'Safe Haven' is from the same author as romantic classic 'The Notebook.' 'Safe Haven' is not exactly as generic as 'The Notebook' but it does qualify as pretty boring in terms of cinematic exploration.

Despite the story – on paper – seeming fairly interesting and relatively unique to the romantic genre, the film still manages to bore you for the first hour of it. In fact, the last 30 minutes of the film are sadly the most interesting. Before that we have endless conversations that seem pointless and clichéd, naff romantic gestures and unrealistic characters. Domestic abuse is sadly a very real problem for many but this film somehow makes the issue seem very unrealistic and as something so dramatic it could never happen in real life. Beautiful people deal with their problems in a beautiful, idyllic small town very quickly and very easily, it isn't exactly interesting.

The acting was a lot better than I had expected; Julianne Hough was a bit flat in some scenes but her performance wasn't bad – just not memorable. Josh Duhamel gave a fairly good performance; he was not playing a pretty face with zero background like he has done in other films and he managed to show he can act with at least a little depth. David Lyons gave the best performance in the film but unfortunately had the least amount of screen time. Playing the creepy, alcoholic, abusive husband, he made the final act worth watching and was quite scary.

Overall, the film certainly is not a bad film; it just isn't a very interesting or memorable one. It's full of clichés and there are not many emotional, heart-warming scenes so it is a little bit bland.

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13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Terribly Manipulative & Sappy

5/10
Author: Larry Silverstein from United States
15 May 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This latest film from Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, is terribly manipulative and sappy. Additionally, I thought the acting and dialogue were, for the most part, stilted and wooden, with every attempt to pull at your "heartsrings".

In the opening scene, Julianne Hough, who portrays Katy (AKA Erin), flees what appears to be a murder scene. Boarding a bus, she eventually settles in the small town of Southport. In this idyllic town she meets Alex, played by Josh Duhamel, a widower who owns the local general store and lives in town with his two children, Lexie and Josh.

Back in Boston, where Katy fled from, a Detective Tierney is relentlessly trying to locate her, even issuing an APB naming her as a murder suspect. It's only about halfway through the film that we start to find out what's really going on.

We also find out Detective Tierney is a violent, alcoholic abuser who is actually married to Katy. His motive in finding her is to confront her and then bring her back to Boston and naturally abuse her some more. David Lyons, who portrays Tierney is actually fairly credible as the despicable and disturbed Detective.

Of course, by this point, we pretty much know what's in store here. Katy and Alex will fall in love and Detective Tierney will find out where she is and there will be a dramatic conclusion.

One positive in the movie was Mimi Kirkland, as Lexie, Alex's daughter. I thought her precociousness and likability on screen was infectious.

The twist ending (not having read the book) I thought was horribly insulting to the movie viewer and a giant set-up.

Very disappointed in the award winning Hallstrom, who has given us such wonderful films as "My Life as a Dog", "What's Eating Gilbert Grape", and "Chocolat", among others, for giving us this melodrama.

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17 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Good romance with suspense: 7,25

7/10
Author: manusanchez90 from Spain
22 April 2013

I will not compare this movie with the novel on which it is based because I have not read it. "Safe haven" is not innovator at all, it is one more romantic drama with a quiet predictable ending, but at the same time, with some mystery and some twists that kept me amused and paying attention during its entire length. It is not as good as "The notebook", but it is better than "Dear John" and "The lucky one", in my opinion. Anyway, these four are very alike to each other and based on the respective novels written by the same author. Lasse Hallstrom proofs again he is an efficient director of dramas (I cannot say versatile, because he has not directed more genres ). He has been able to take advantage of the cast, which is not particularly great, but good enough. The photography is one of the best elements of the movie. It is mainly located in Northern Carolina (in a quiet coastal village) and I really liked the environment. The pace is fluid. It made me pay attention from the beginning. It does not obviously have the same pace that action movies should have. The plot contains just a few good unexpected twists and some flashbacks. The plot is easy to follow and adds no confusion, which is good. The acting is good enough. I am not a fan of any actor from this mo vie, but they all did a decent job and are believable in their respective roles. Josh Dushamel and Julianne Hough are the two leading ones, specially her, who is not famous at all. In conclusion, those who really like this sort of movies will surely enjoy this one even though it is not a top romantic drama. The intrigue and photography are added value. The cast is not great, but good enough. The film is well-paced, but it is not original at all. 7,25.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Nicholas Sparks at his best ... er, uh, I mean same.

4/10
Author: twilliams76 from Kansas City, MO, USA
16 August 2013

If someone were to tell me that the latest Nicholas Sparks novel-to-a-movie adaptation would be one that starred two ridiculously attractive actors playing characters who almost fall in love when a secret from the past that can keep them apart is revealed nearly thirty minutes before the movie ends ... I would say "No $--t! Have you not been paying attention!?" Anybody who does not reside in a cave would know this.

Safe Haven is yet the latest of Sparks' novels to follow this same "winning" (they continue to be profitable!) formula/pattern and it rather saddens me this is director Lasse Hallstrom's SECOND Sparks film as the (thrice) Oscar-nominated director has made GREAT films in the past such as The Cider House Rules, Chocolat, What's Eating Gilbert Grape and Salmon Fishing on the Yemen (I've also just realized his greatest films have an edible word in the title).

Safe Haven stars Julianne Hough (Rock of Ages) as Katie, a beautiful young woman on the run from her past. Safe Haven also stars Josh Duhamel (New Year's Eve) as Alex, a handsome widower and saintly father raising two young children in a small, coastal North Carolina town.

The two meet soon after her arrival in town and begin a friendship (rather reluctantly on her part) after she meets him at the small convenience store he runs -- his cute daughter runs the cash register! -- as he helps her with an odd assortment of items and he answers some even stranger movie-scripted questions. He even gets her a bicycle with a basket on the front (which she takes as an affront) and he orders her yellow paint. Wh-what? Exactly.

Their entire relationship is contrived in a connect-the-dots Nicholas Sparks pattern and the film's supporting players each have a single purpose for the movie -- her jerk of an ex looking for her (David Lyons - Eat Pray Love), his cop pal who can discover her secret in an instant (Ric Reitz - Flight), his children to either look cute or get into trouble, and her country neighbor giving her relationship advice on Alex (Cobie Smulders - The Avengers).

Hallstrom has made this better than most sappy melodramatic romances (and Hough and Duhamel are both likable-enough stars) but Sparks' over-the-top climatic children-in-peril moments have become eye-rolling. The film is standard Nicholas Sparks malarkey and anybody who has watched the movies based on his work knows they have much in common. This can be good or bad depending upon the person.

Beautiful actors? Check. Beautiful scenery? Check. Romance? Check. Melodrama? Check. More melodrama? Check. A scene in or near the water? Check. A young one in trouble? Check. Good story? ... uh, Bueller?

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