The beginning was unexpected; it was out of the ordinary for a romance film. As the first few seconds of the movie began, there was a woman running, there were two policemen in pursuit of her. As she barely escapes, it is somehow satisfying that the woman got away-shot so that the cops looked like the bad guys. The yet unnamed character finally makes her stop in Southport, North Carolina, when she arrives, she notices a store owner named Alex, played by Josh Duhamel. In addition, a random neighbor called Jo soon forms a friendship with her. Meanwhile, one of the policemen is searching relentlessly for her. As Katie, played by Julianne Hough, has flashbacks, it creates a sense of mystery as to what happened.
Shot in Southport and Wilmington, North Carolina, I was enchanted with the beautiful scenery of the town. Just as the movie was setting a cheerful mood, it flashed back to a bloody Katie who defended herself against her abusive, alcoholic husband, played by David Lyons, who also happened to be the detective obsessed with hunting her down. When Alex and Katie begin their romance, she is not really cautious at all with him which seemed less realistic. It seems as though she has forgotten all of her other troubles and instead of holding back a bit, like in the book, she falls for him. A few other minor setbacks to my full enjoyment of the film, was that Katie always dressed or looked a certain way that made her look too girly or showy. This is not how she is portrayed in the book, in which she was naturally pretty and had a comfortable appearance despite her financial struggles. Noah Lomax who played Josh, Alex’s son, created a little more tension than was likely intended; he was more bitter toward his father and Katie because he thought that she might be taking his deceased mother’s place.
Safe Haven overall is a sweet tale that is laid-back and not too gushy or cheesy. Some of the scenes were intense but the romance itself was simple. There was a great surprise ending and the final scene was heartwarming. I advise you to not judge this film before seeing it, it is unpredictable; there are a few twists that shocked the audience and created the perfect balance in what a Nicholas Sparks film should be. Go see this movie if you’re looking for a light love story that is a perfect date with friends or your significant other.