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What to know: A romance, with a lot of mystery and a complex story.
Recommended age 13-18
115 minutes
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SAFE HAVEN cover image Click to play video trailer
"Safe Haven" tells the story of a young woman named Katie (Julianne Hough) who is running from her abusive past. She ends up in Southport, North Carolina, where she meets Alex (Josh Duhamel), a father of two young children whose wife has passed away. Katie and Alex immediately fall for each other, even though Katie is afraid to open up to him. When her past comes back to haunt her, she is forced to choose between confronting her biggest fears and secrets, or continue running.

I was expecting this movie to be just another chick-flick romance, but since this film adds thrill and mystery to a typically cheesy genre, I find myself enjoying it a lot more. It is directed by Lasse Hallstrom, who also directed "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" which is one of my favorite movies. I really enjoy Lasse's style when it comes to scenery and direction, so I find the cinematography in this film to be very beautiful and picturesque. I also enjoy the soundtrack to this movie because it has the perfect balance of sappy romantic melodies, as well as suspenseful pieces to fit the mood of each scene.

The one thing that really bothers me about this movie is the end. There is a pretty substantial plot twist in the middle of the movie, but then another one is thrown in at the very last scene. It is completely unnecessary and takes the film from being relatively realistic, to being totally unrealistic. I hate to say this, but it's just dumb.

My favorite character is Tierney (David Lyons.) He is a detective who plays a major part in the plot, and he has by far the most convincing performance. Every time he comes on the screen, I get this creepy feeling that he isn't exactly what he seems. The main thing I look for when it comes to acting is whether or not the actors are able to make the audience feel something, and David definitely succeeds.

I recommend Safe Haven for audiences ages 13 and up, due to mature content, such as violence and abuse. Ages 13-18 will get the most enjoyment out of it, but it would also be a perfect date night flick for adults. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars, so go check out Safe Haven! Raven Devanney, age 15, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.

Safe Haven was surprisingly eerie for a romantic movie. I have never seen Julianne Hough play such an intense role before, and she is honest in her acting. She plays a distrusting woman in a new town looking to have no neighbors, friends or any emotional ties, but she forgets that southerners are strangely friendly. Her goal becomes more difficult.

I love the style that the movie is shot, flashing in and out from the present to the past. This movie follows a woman named Katie who runs away from home, urgently from her husband who is stalking and trying to find her. She takes a bus in a disguise to any town and when the bus stops for a pit stop, she decides that the sleepy and quaint little town she has stopped in is the one for her.

Katie (Julianne Hough) has to start over with a new name, house and people. First she gets a job at a local seafood shack and buys a new house. She stops at the local store for groceries and meets a charming little girl named Lexi (Mimi Kirkland), followed by her dad, Alex (Josh Duhamel), who coincidentally is the same guy that sold her coffee the first day in town. Neither of them at first admit it, but it is clear that there is an instant attraction. From then on, whenever Katie goes to the store she sees Lexie and meets her brother Josh (Noah Lomax) and flirts with Alex. Katie tells all of her encounters with Alex to her one neighbor Jo(Cobie Smulders), and Jo encourages the idea of Katie dating Alex. The closer Alex and Katie get, the more dangerous their relationship becomes.

There is a twist when Alex, who is friends with the sheriff, sees a wanted for murder post with Katie's face on it. He confronts her and tells her to leave. Later find out that Katie's husband she is running from, is the police. To find out what happens next, you'll have to see it for yourself.

I give this movie five out of five stars because this romantic movie is unique and not clich´┐Ż. I would recommend it for ages 13 and up or mature audiences, for the sexual scenes and for scenes of domestic and substance abuse. I am not a fan of romantic movies, but this one was the best I have seen. It even has an exciting twist that I never saw coming. I love this movie and will see it again.

Coming soon.
A young woman with a mysterious past lands in Southport, North Carolina, where her bond with a widower forces her to confront the dark secret that haunts her. Starring Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, Cobie Smulders. Directed by Lasse Hallstrom.
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