Reviews - Major Releases


Film Review: Safe Haven

Couples could do a lot worse on Valentine’s Day than seeing this romantic drama which, although springing from the same author, is far less bathetic than the popular The Notebook.

Feb 13, 2013

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1371738-Safe_Haven_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Sleepy Southport, North Carolina seems the perfect place for Katie Feldman (Julianne Hough), who is on the run for possible implication in a murder. She makes a new life for herself in an isolated cottage, getting employment as a waitress and just tries to keep to herself. But the warm attention of local storekeeper Alex (Josh Duhamel), a charming single father of two, makes her reach out emotionally, just when her dark past is about to catch up to her, with devastating results.

Adapted from a novel by chick-flick specialist Nicholas Sparks ( The Notebook, Dear John, A Walk to Remember) and mercifully devoid of his usual heavy sentimental hand, Safe Haven is an appealing, compelling romance that will no doubt thrill the ladies, and not be too terribly much of a chore for their menfolk to endure. Ever pictorially alert, director Lasse Hallström uses the pretty, sylvan Southern setting as almost an extra character here and, especially for moviegoers who’ve been particularly wracked by these brutal winter months, his film operates as something of a mini-vacation to boot. Terry Spacey’s lovely cinematography captures all the assets of the Spanish moss-hung verdancy, the shabby chic village and sparkling, dappled water, as well as the attractive cast.

Move over, Meg Ryan, there’s a possible new America’s Sweetheart in Hough, who bears a resemblance to that actress, with a natural verve and spunky charm all her own. She convincingly plays both the pre-trauma, urban sophisticate brunette Katie and her sun-bleached blonde later self, wary yet receptive to warmth. Hough and the somewhat bland Duhamel, with his perfect, tiny-featured face and dashing—if somewhat narrow-shouldered—physique, make convincing lovers, enough that you do care about their imperiled relationship.

David Lyons as Kevin, the fanatically obsessed guy from Katie’s past intent on finding her, brings a goodly amount of effective tension to the proceedings, and his big fight with her has a scary immediacy. Cobie Smulders (TV’s “How I Met Your Mother”) appears as the first friend Katie makes in Southport, and with her dark looks and tomboyish ways, bears an amusing resemblance to Suzanne Pleshette in Hitchcock’s The Birds, but her fate, although the major twist of the movie, is not nearly as bloody. For me, the real star of the movie, however, is, little Mimi Kirkland as Alex’s daughter, who has a disarming authenticity that makes her one of the most enchanting movie moppets seen in many a moon.


Film Review: Safe Haven

Couples could do a lot worse on Valentine’s Day than seeing this romantic drama which, although springing from the same author, is far less bathetic than the popular The Notebook.

Feb 13, 2013

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1371738-Safe_Haven_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Sleepy Southport, North Carolina seems the perfect place for Katie Feldman (Julianne Hough), who is on the run for possible implication in a murder. She makes a new life for herself in an isolated cottage, getting employment as a waitress and just tries to keep to herself. But the warm attention of local storekeeper Alex (Josh Duhamel), a charming single father of two, makes her reach out emotionally, just when her dark past is about to catch up to her, with devastating results.

Adapted from a novel by chick-flick specialist Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Dear John, A Walk to Remember) and mercifully devoid of his usual heavy sentimental hand, Safe Haven is an appealing, compelling romance that will no doubt thrill the ladies, and not be too terribly much of a chore for their menfolk to endure. Ever pictorially alert, director Lasse Hallström uses the pretty, sylvan Southern setting as almost an extra character here and, especially for moviegoers who’ve been particularly wracked by these brutal winter months, his film operates as something of a mini-vacation to boot. Terry Spacey’s lovely cinematography captures all the assets of the Spanish moss-hung verdancy, the shabby chic village and sparkling, dappled water, as well as the attractive cast.

Move over, Meg Ryan, there’s a possible new America’s Sweetheart in Hough, who bears a resemblance to that actress, with a natural verve and spunky charm all her own. She convincingly plays both the pre-trauma, urban sophisticate brunette Katie and her sun-bleached blonde later self, wary yet receptive to warmth. Hough and the somewhat bland Duhamel, with his perfect, tiny-featured face and dashing—if somewhat narrow-shouldered—physique, make convincing lovers, enough that you do care about their imperiled relationship.

David Lyons as Kevin, the fanatically obsessed guy from Katie’s past intent on finding her, brings a goodly amount of effective tension to the proceedings, and his big fight with her has a scary immediacy. Cobie Smulders (TV’s “How I Met Your Mother”) appears as the first friend Katie makes in Southport, and with her dark looks and tomboyish ways, bears an amusing resemblance to Suzanne Pleshette in Hitchcock’s The Birds, but her fate, although the major twist of the movie, is not nearly as bloody. For me, the real star of the movie, however, is, little Mimi Kirkland as Alex’s daughter, who has a disarming authenticity that makes her one of the most enchanting movie moppets seen in many a moon.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Major Releases

As Above, So Below
Film Review: As Above, So Below

But not much in between. More »

Life of Crime review
Film Review: Life of Crime

Amateur kidnapping goes awry in a darkly comic adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel. More »

November Man
Film Review: The November Man

More than a decade after his 007 days, Pierce Brosnan is back in secret-agent mode, as a more down-to-earth but no less deadly ex-spy who gets forced back into the game. More »

When the Game Stands Tall
Film Review: When the Game Stands Tall

Enervated football drama plods along predictably. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Film Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Neither significantly better nor worse than its predecessor, the belated Sin City sequel is more of a repeat, rather than a continuation, of the original. More »

If I Stay
Film Review: If I Stay

Delivers as promised. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here