It's Valentine's Day which means one thing for movie fanatics -- another Nicholas Sparks cheesy romantic comedy releases today. They made be incredibly cheesy, but several of them are actual powerful romance films (ex. The Notebook, A Walk to Remember).
Safe Haven follows the same pattern as these other films as it has what some would consider an unrealistic romance. The audience sees a young woman named Katie (Julianne Hough) running from the law, finding herself in a small town in North Carolina where she instantly falls for the hunk who runs the general store. The small town romance blooms so quickly that the pair do not get time to really know the person they are falling for before their pasts start to unravel. The beginning of the film is corny and the speed of the two attractive leads falling for one another is similar to any other of Sparks' novels. You sit there thinking to yourself, "This movie is alright for what it is, but it is really nothing special."
Then something magical happens.
The movie starts to twist. Twists are always interesting for those who watch a lot of movies because if you can see the twist coming, it is not worth it. When something happens in a film that is unpredictable, it can make a mediocre film soar to levels of greatness. That is what Safe Haven does. Although the film is still over-sentimental, the writing makes every second worth it. You start to invest more in the characters because you realize the writing has potential. The script leaves you wanting for nothing, because you are blown away by its power to catch you offguard.
This does not mean that all the writing is perfect. The storyline is flawed and has little things that could probably never happen in real life. There are scenes that are over the top and might make you roll your eyes, but sitting through them it worth it to get to the good parts.
Hough and Duhamel have great chemistry on screen together. That is another reason the film works so well. It has a great cast. Pay special attention to child actor Noah Lomax ( "The Walking Dead", Playing for Keeps). There is something about him that is infectious, even when he is playing a bratty child or is only a blip on the television screen.
Music also plays an important piece in why this movie works so well. The soundtrack for the film connects you so perfectly into the world of romantic comedies. Every song in the film makes you want to sneak out your phone and Shazam it to see what the title and artist are. (Have no fear; Safe Haven has a soundtrack available in stores and on iTunes.)
Safe Haven may start out as any other run-of-the-mill Nicholas Sparks tale, but it turns in to something great. The unpredictable turns in the story, along with a strong cast and a wonderful soundtrack, make this film a must-see. It is definitely worth checking out.