An attractive couple in a picturesque resort town makes Safe Haven a good-looking movie. It’s a sweet love story that has a bit of conflict and ugliness, but not enough to damage the warm glow Safe Haven gives off.
Safe Haven is adapted from a Nicholas Sparks novel, as were such movies as The Notebook, Dear John and others. Safe Haven is the eighth movie based on a Sparks novel.
Josh Duhamel plays Alex, a likeable widower with two cute kids. He runs a store in a small town in coastal North Carolina where busses stop to let passengers grab a snack and stretch their legs.
One passenger chooses not to get back on the bus, but to stay in town. Katie is played by Julianne Hough, best known for appearances on Dancing with the Stars. Katie is on the run from something, but what she’s trying to escape is not revealed immediately.
In the meantime, she gets a waitress job in town and falls in love with the hunky widower.
Yes, Safe Haven is like a Hallmark Channel movie with better writing and acting. It has new love, kids, family, sunny days, rainy days, a trip to the beach, a canoe ride, pleasant locations. Romance is in the air and life is good.
Safe Haven also has the peril element found in Lifetime movies. When Katie’s past problems come to call, she and others must confront danger.
Cobie Smulders of How I Met Your Mother fame has a small, not especially glam, role as Katie’s neighbor Jo who is always ready with advice and encouragement.
Safe Haven provides a safe haven for moviegoers looking for a more wholesome contemporary romance. No T & A, no bad words, minimal sex, a necessary (for the sake of the plot) bit of violence. No urban scenarios with dance clubs and cool workspaces. No freaks or geeks.
Julianne Hough is a younger, blonder, prettier version of Jennifer Aniston and Josh Duhamel is hunky without being obnoxious about it.
Is Safe Haven just about the perfect Valentine’s Day weekend romance movie? Without a doubt, yes.