Redbox Review: Safe Haven

safe havenMovie: Safe Haven
Rating: 8/10
Memorable Line: Pretty sure Josh Duhamel’s face in a family photo on the beach trumps them all.

Valentine’s Day may be over, but the romance in the air hasn’t completely been killed by the gray February skies. Whether you’re single, married, or anywhere in between, Safe Haven is one Valentine’s Day movie worth watching no matter what day of the year it is.
Sure, it’s based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, and yeah, the poster is of a picture-perfect couple on their way to making out, but don’t let this turn you away. In fact, at several points, the movie is downright creepy.

Safe Haven opens with a glimpse into an abusive relationship between a husband and wife although you never see the face of the man. The woman, Katie (Julianne Hough, also in Footloose), makes it to a tour bus with only a pillowcase full of clothing before a detective, already on her trail, can catch her. The bus stops in a tiny town in North Carolina, where Katie steps off and, after falling for the calming small-town atmosphere and picturesque seaside landscape, decides to stay. Despite her best efforts to keep her head down, Katie finds herself drawn to widower Alex (Josh Duhamel, also in Transformers and Life as We Know It), a convenience store owner, his two younger children, and Jo, another woman who seems to have buried herself in the bayou-like forest far outside of town. Attraction grows, romance blooms and just as Katie begins to let her guard down, her past reaches out and tears apart the new life Katie had been building for herself, forcing her to decide where she really belongs, and with whom her safe haven truly lies.

This movie was great because it didn’t focus solely on the romance. It switches between Katie’s story and the detective, who is definitely going above and beyond the call of duty to find her, and somehow looking more and more deranged as he does it. The sense of calmness you get as you watch Katie grows just as fast as the sense of unease and disgust surrounding the detective. Some may call the story predictable, but there is enough action (yes, action, not drama) and twists along the way to make this more than a typical Nicholas Sparks-style romance. So even though this is a home run of a date movie, it is also one worth watching with any crowd.

Hannah DeVries, Co-Editor

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