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.









Film information

Genre: , , ,
Starring: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Release date: Feb 14, 2013
MPAA rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving threatening behavior, and for violence and sexuality
Official website:
Runtime: 115 min
Movie Reviews:
  • 58
    Christian Science Monitor - by Peter Rainer
    Safe Haven is a species of Gothic chick flick. more

  • 50
    New York Observer - by Rex Reed
    This one blends the scented candles of a daytime soap with the tamer aspects of a middling thriller. Some folks will bring Kleenex. Others will need NoDoz. more

  • 50
    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. more

  • 50
    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. more

  • 50
    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. more

  • 50
    USA Today - by Claudia Puig
    The picture-postcard location of Southport, N.C., is the film's strong suit. more

  • 50
    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. more

  • 50
    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. more

  • 50
    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. more

  • 50
    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. more

  • 50
    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. more

  • 50
    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. more

  • 40
    Total Film - by Emma Dibdin
    By the numbers even by Sparks’ standards. more

  • 40
    New York Magazine (Vulture) - by Bilge Ebiri
    The movie’s not all bad. There’s palpable chemistry between Duhamel and Hough. The former particularly seems well-suited to this sort of thing: He has just the right amount of grizzled charm to be one of those wounded hunks Sparks likes so much. more

  • 40
    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. more

  • 40
    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. more

  • 40
    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. ...

  • 38
    Boston Globe - by Tom Russo
    A movie that passably ambles along in generic-melodrama mode before finally insulting audience intelligence one time too many. more

  • 38
    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. more

  • 37
    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. more

  • 33
    The A.V. Club - by Scott Tobias
    The cutaways to this cop-on-the-edge plot are jarring and lacking in conviction, and when the whole tortured mess comes together in a twist-filled third act, Safe Haven becomes a full-blown calamity. more

  • 30
    Village Voice - by Melissa Anderson
    Hough emits all the charisma of a personal assistant. more

  • 30
    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. more

  • 30
    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. ...

  • 25 - by Laremy Legel
    Even when compared against other films that have been adapted from Nicholas Sparks novels, Safe Haven is terrible. more

  • 20
    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. more

  • 20
    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. more

  • 12
    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. more

  • 0
    Rolling Stone - by Peter Travers
    I hate Safe Haven. It's a terrible thing to do to your Valentine. more

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