Nicholas Sparks does it again, with another one of his stories being successfully turned into a film. If you are looking for a movie with a touch of drama, crime and a lot of romance, Safe Haven is a safe bet and one that will not disappoint fans of this genre. Safe Haven focuses on twenty-something Katie (Julianne Hough) who has decided to leave her old life behind and start anew in the small town of Southport in North Carolina. She finds a job as a waitress and is able to rent a small house on the edge of the town. People are curious to know where she's from and what brought her to Southport, but Katie isn't ready to share anything about her past. The only two people she occasionally talks to are her friendly neighbour Jo (Cobie Smulders) and widower Alex (Josh Duhamel), who owns a convenience store and has two children, Lexie and Josh. Slowly, Katie begins to let her guard down and even thinks about staying in Southport. However, her dark past is still haunting her and she knows she will have to face it all before being able to really build a new life for herself.

Since 1999, eight of Nicholas Sparks' highly successful romance novels have been turned into film adaptations, with number 9 hitting cinemas soon and number 10 currently in pre-production. While Safe Haven is a moving love story, just like all of the author's other films and books, a touch of crime/thriller has been added to it, making part of the film quite dark. The combination of romance, drama and crime definitely works, though, as the plotline is quite captivating. In contrast to most chick flicks, I was actually surprised by the ending which included a twist I did not see coming, but loved. The film has a good cast (I was pleasantly surprised by Hough; many female viewers will love Duhamel as the leading man, and I especially loved Smulders as Jo), a gorgeous setting, and a compelling storyline. It's a sweet romantic film with a touch of darkness; if you enjoy Nicholas Sparks' love stories you will definitely not be disappointed by this.

Movie reviewed by Jody Hoekstra

Back to Movie Night