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

Hunger Games - Mockingjay Pt 1
Film Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Darker, less action-packed first half of the final installment of the popular franchise moves from arenas to rubble aplenty as Jennifer Lawrence’s super-heroine is called upon to serve her beleaguered and much-destroyed nation as propaganda instrument and leader. Fans of the books and previous two films get a less flashy palette here, but the engaging characters and strong story return to stir interest for the scheduled November 2015 finale. More »

Dumb and Dumber To
Film Review: Dumb and Dumber To

Please, guys, don't do this to There's Something About Mary. More »

Beyond the Lights
Film Review: Beyond the Lights

Here we finally have the showbiz drama-romance which Glitter, Burlesque, both versions of Sparkle and countless glitzy but dreary others have tried to be. Immensely enjoyable corn done with maximum hipness, the perfect date movie and showcase for the astonishingly versatile Gugu Mbatha-Raw. More »

Rosewater
Film Review: Rosewater

TV satirist Jon Stewart takes a hairpin turn from comedy into serious territory with his filmmaking debut, a taut political drama based on the true story of Iran-imprisoned Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Hunger Games - Mockingjay Pt 1
Film Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Darker, less action-packed first half of the final installment of the popular franchise moves from arenas to rubble aplenty as Jennifer Lawrence’s super-heroine is called upon to serve her beleaguered and much-destroyed nation as propaganda instrument and leader. Fans of the books and previous two films get a less flashy palette here, but the engaging characters and strong story return to stir interest for the scheduled November 2015 finale. More »

Foxcatcher review
Film Review: Foxcatcher

Character is destiny in this masterfully controlled true-crime sports drama that will likely catapult Steve Carell into the Oscar race. 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