When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family. But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.
Film informationGenre: Drama, Mystery, Romance, Thriller
- Empire - by Anna Smith
"Salmon Fishing In The Yemen" and "Chocolat" man Hallström is an old pro at navigating this kind of undemandingly dramatic yarn and does a pretty fine job with Sparks' story. ...read more
- Variety - by Justin Chang
Safe Haven offers an unsurprising but not unsatisfying tour through recognizable Sparkville terrain. ...
- Christian Science Monitor - by Peter Rainer
Safe Haven is a species of Gothic chick flick. ...read more
- Time - by Mary Pols
The man (Sparks) is a cultural magpie, capable of borrowing from a 1991 Julia Roberts flick and M. Night Shyamalan in one fell swoop. He’ll never get an award for originality, but when it comes to rehashing formula and pleasing his audience, the man is a master. ...read more
- Philadelphia Inquirer - by Tirdad Derakhshani
Not one of Sparks' best flicks (The Notebook is quite good) Safe Haven is marred by film cliches. It has an alarming number of throwaway montage sequences. ...read more
- New York Post - by Sara Stewart
Adapting the author’s cornball formula for a second time around is once-ambitious director Lasse Hallström (“Dear John”), who delivers a cinematic valentine you’ll be reasonably content to watch on a flight in a year or so. ...
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch - by Joe Williams
Hallstrom (“Chocolat”) makes the mishmash palatable, and romance mainstay Duhamel provides some sweet-and-salty charm, but there’s not much they can do with Sparks’ canned dialogue and Hough’s undercooked acting. ...read more
- San Francisco Chronicle - by Peter Hartlaub
It's Valentine's Day! Unrealistic romantic expectations are in the air! And Safe Haven does the unrealistic romance thing pretty well. ...read more
- The Hollywood Reporter - by Stephen Farber
A thriller element that has not been present in earlier Sparks movies is designed to draw reluctant male viewers to see the picture, but they won’t respond with the same enthusiasm as his core audience of woozy romantics. ...read more
- Movie Nation - by Roger Moore
Hallestrom and his screenwriters may be stuck with Sparks’ formula, but they take advantage of the geography, the leads and a couple of homespun supporting players – Robin Mullens is a wonderfully folksy owner of the seaside seafood shack. ...read more
- Chicago Tribune - by Michael Phillips
I like Duhamel, and in her first straight-up dramatic role Hough does well enough, though her singing and/dancing career thus far has trained her to oversell, as opposed to sell, as opposed to act naturally. ...read more
- ReelViews - by James Berardinelli
Reading a Sparks novel allows one's imagination to enter the equation. Watching one of his stories adapted on screen has exactly the opposite effect: it neuters the imagination. This is soap opera, pure and simple. ...read more
- Time Out New York - by Keith Phipps
Any residual charm evaporates when the third-act dramatics start piling up and a must-be-seen-to-be-believed final twist redefines the word shameless, even by Sparksville standards. ...read more
- New York Daily News - by Miriam Bale
Duhamel is goofy and harmless, but unlike Ryan Gosling in “Notebook,” adds no texture or subtlety. Hough (“Footloose”), while photogenic, is similarly bland. ...read more
- Arizona Republic - by Barbara VanDenburgh
Safe Haven plays out less like a love story than it does a two-hour audition tape Julianne Hough commissioned to land a lucrative lip-gloss-modeling contract. ...
- Boston Globe - by Tom Russo
A movie that passably ambles along in generic-melodrama mode before finally insulting audience intelligence one time too many. ...read more
- Chicago Sun-Times - by Richard Roeper
If it can be said movies have personalities, I give you three words to sum up the basic core identity of Safe Haven: Bat. Bleep. Crazy. ...
- Washington Post - by Ann Hornaday
Safe Haven is one of those Valentine’s Day confections that satisfy your sweet tooth until you get to their weird, off-putting center. The problem with movies is that you can’t put them back in the box. ...
- Village Voice - by Melissa Anderson
Hough emits all the charisma of a personal assistant. ...read more
- Austin Chronicle - by Kimberley Jones
The leads project a sunny patina of wholesomeness and share marvelous tans, but beyond that, it’s a shrugging love match. ...read more
- The New York Times - by Stephen Holden
The weakest parts of Safe Haven are its action sequences, in which the illusion of reality is shattered by ham-handed editing, garish special effects and comic-book dialogue. ...
- Film.com - by Laremy Legel
Even when compared against other films that have been adapted from Nicholas Sparks novels, Safe Haven is terrible. ...read more
- The Guardian - by Peter Bradshaw
As ever with a Sparks story, the action takes place in a sugary vision of small-town America that does not correspond with the real world at any point. ...
- Los Angeles Times - by Betsy Sharkey
This sloppy sentimental journey is long on beauty shots, short on depth and seriously intent on tugging your heartstrings. Indeed, it demands you reach for those tissues. Sob. ...
- Slant Magazine - by Chris Cabin
It goes without saying that Safe Haven is the whitest thing offered up for public consumption in the three days since Mumford & Sons won the Grammy for Album of the Year. ...read more