By Liz Lopez
Author Nicholas Sparks has penned a myriad of successful novels, including The Notebook that was adapted for the big screen among several others, generating a legion of fans of the romantic stories. Friends and family who rank among the fans of romance novels and Sparks books anxiously await viewing Safe Haven as it opens on February 14th in time for Valentine’s Day. I admit romance films are not the ones I highly anticipate viewing this year, but generally enjoy them as a source of socialization with other film fans who seek out this genre. All too often, many of the romance stories can come across as predictable, without something to really keep the viewer engaged. After viewing Safe Haven, I was pleasantly surprised by this story as it has more mystery and action to it than others in the past that I recall. If anyone is on the fence about going to yet another romantic movie, I will recommend viewing this in the theater. It won’t be as painful for those who abhor this genre of film as they go with their loved ones on a special Valentine’s date, as there are some buddy scenes that add some humor.
Josh Duhamel’s performances in the 2010 films When in Rome and Life As We Know It were enjoyable, but I definitely liked the delivery of his character as a widower, Alex, with two children, Josh (Noah Lomax) and Lexie (Mimi Kirkland). Julianne Hough portrays Katie, a newcomer in the small seaside town where Alex lives, and the place she picks to start a new life. Burlesque, Footloose and Rock of Ages are some recent films where her character danced and/or sang, but her more dramatic performance in Safe Haven will be more memorable. The scenes she has with David Lyons’ character are certainly intense at some moments and Lyons certainly does a good job portraying the alcoholic, abusive individual. This may be hard to watch for anyone who has endured abuse, but the cinematography is well done so it is not as graphic and jarring.
Safe Haven opens in theatres nationwide on Thursday, February 14th and is rated PG-13.