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Safe Haven a three-tissue extravaganza

Paul Peterson

Paul Peterson

Well, I have to admit that I was wrong, which is a huge concession given that anyone who knows me understands just how much I like being right. (That’s an interesting phenomena since I’m usually wrong.)

I really thought Safe Haven was another semi-entertaining love story with the cliched story line and inevitable outcome, but it’s a whole lot more.
It’s based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, of  The Notebook fame. Now that fella can get the tear ducts pumping. But it’s just a lot more than that, and significantly more than the sum of it’s parts.
For starters, it has Lassa Halstrom as its director. He directed The Cider House Rules, which to me was a perfect film. This isn’t perfect but it’s surprisingly strong.
Halstrom tells great stories and seems to have a feel for turning the written word into compelling drama
His cast is pitch perfect.
I like Julianna Hough. She’s a chameleon. The big-eyed, big-haired blonde from Rock of Ages is long gone and in her place is a strong, scared woman wanting to come into the light, but feels safer in the shadows. Her character Katie has a secret. A big one. She wants to disappear into anytown USA for good reason. And while she struggles to fit into her new town, new life, she also struggles with the fact that her abusive ex is hunting her, and he has the benefit of the law on his side. He’s a sadistic cop who wants her dead, and will apparently stop at nothing.
She buys a house and befriends her quirky neighbor Jo, who wants to teach her about fitting in. Jo has quite a secret herself, but no more on that later.
Then there’s Alex. Local store owner who seems to have a big heart and the most adorable kids this side of Family Affair.
He’s a widower with 2 kids having lost his wife to cancer. He’s a really good guy and he’s ready to love again.
I love using cheesy cliches like that because it makes me feel better about the fact that I actually enjoyed this schmaltz fest. Somehow if I poke fun at it then I’m above it all. Except I’m not.
Here’s the thing.
This film is anything but cliched.
The actors all give very strong performances. There are plenty of surprises in the story line and some really sweet moments. This is a victory of casting and story with a major nod to the director.
It’s a little slow at times and we know where some of the story is going to take us, so sometimes I wish we could just go there rather than the slow dance to Captain Obviousland.
It’s hard to go into a lot of detail without issuing a major spoiler alert so all I’ll say is this: There are significant payoffs here all the way around.
We want them to get together.
We want the bad guy to be out of their lives forever.
We want a little wow in the ending and some sniffles and throat lumpage wouldn’t hurt either.
It’s all here.
There’s actually enough action, almost, to keep the guys watching.
Ok. I lied about that.
There’s some tension but mostly it’s a lot of nice love stuff.
Hey, Die Hard died and should stay dead. Love sells.
I was pleasantly surprised by this film. I can recommend it to a lot of women and a handful of men. The teens liked it as well. It’s actually a great story
Now, I’m either going to go talk about mistake sin window treatments with my galpals or watch Law Abiding Citizen again just to get the Sparks stain  off my  battered machismo. I’m so confused. Except about the movie. It’s lovely.
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElsePaul Peterson

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