Metascore
34

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 33
  2. Negative: 13 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Feb 14, 2013
    75
    A sentimental romantic thriller. But it’s a well-made sentimental romantic thriller, and that makes all the difference.
  2. Reviewed by: Anna Smith
    Feb 25, 2013
    60
    "Salmon Fishing In The Yemen" and "Chocolat" man Hallström is an old pro at navigating this kind of undemandingly dramatic yarn and does a pretty fine job with Sparks' story.
  3. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Feb 13, 2013
    60
    Safe Haven offers an unsurprising but not unsatisfying tour through recognizable Sparkville terrain.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Feb 14, 2013
    58
    Safe Haven is a species of Gothic chick flick.
  5. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Feb 20, 2013
    50
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Feb 16, 2013
    50
    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.
  7. Reviewed by: Tirdad Derakhshani
    Feb 14, 2013
    50
    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.
  8. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Feb 13, 2013
    50
    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.
  9. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Feb 13, 2013
    50
    The picture-postcard location of Southport, N.C., is the film's strong suit.
  10. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Feb 13, 2013
    50
    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.
  11. Reviewed by: Peter Hartlaub
    Feb 13, 2013
    50
    It's Valentine's Day! Unrealistic romantic expectations are in the air! And Safe Haven does the unrealistic romance thing pretty well.
  12. Reviewed by: Stephen Farber
    Feb 13, 2013
    50
    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.
  13. 50
    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.
  14. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Feb 13, 2013
    50
    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.
  15. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Feb 13, 2013
    50
    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.
  16. Reviewed by: Emma Dibdin
    Feb 22, 2013
    40
    By the numbers even by Sparks’ standards.
  17. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Feb 15, 2013
    40
    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.
  18. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Feb 14, 2013
    40
    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.
  19. Reviewed by: Miriam Bale
    Feb 13, 2013
    40
    Duhamel is goofy and harmless, but unlike Ryan Gosling in “Notebook,” adds no texture or subtlety. Hough (“Footloose”), while photogenic, is similarly bland.
  20. Reviewed by: Barbara VanDenburgh
    Feb 13, 2013
    40
    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.
  21. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Feb 13, 2013
    38
    It’s hard to argue with the title here – Safe Haven, indeed. This is all about safety in the Hollywood workplace. Why make a movie when making a Hallmark-card-with-dialogue is so much less risky?
  22. Reviewed by: Tom Russo
    Feb 13, 2013
    38
    A movie that passably ambles along in generic-melodrama mode before finally insulting audience intelligence one time too many.
  23. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Feb 13, 2013
    38
    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.
  24. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Feb 14, 2013
    37
    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.
  25. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Feb 13, 2013
    33
    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.
  26. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Feb 14, 2013
    30
    Hough emits all the charisma of a personal assistant.
  27. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Feb 13, 2013
    30
    The leads project a sunny patina of wholesomeness and share marvelous tans, but beyond that, it’s a shrugging love match.
  28. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Feb 13, 2013
    30
    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.
  29. Reviewed by: Laremy Legel
    Feb 26, 2013
    25
    Even when compared against other films that have been adapted from Nicholas Sparks novels, Safe Haven is terrible.
  30. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Mar 2, 2013
    20
    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.
  31. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Feb 13, 2013
    20
    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.
  32. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Feb 13, 2013
    12
    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.
  33. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Feb 14, 2013
    0
    I hate Safe Haven. It's a terrible thing to do to your Valentine.
User Score
5.3

Mixed or average reviews- based on 65 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 27
  2. Negative: 8 out of 27
  1. Feb 15, 2013
    10
    I am amazed how wrong most critics are at rating movies these days. Have they become so shallow and devoid of common sense? If you are a movieI am amazed how wrong most critics are at rating movies these days. Have they become so shallow and devoid of common sense? If you are a movie buff that likes a great family movie,great story, unusual setting, romance, drama, thriller with a surprise ending go see it, you will not regret it. Full Review »
  2. Feb 15, 2013
    3
    It being Valentine’s Day weekend Hollywood, naturally, offers a romantic Nicholas Sparks film “Safe Haven” based on one of his many books.. InIt being Valentine’s Day weekend Hollywood, naturally, offers a romantic Nicholas Sparks film “Safe Haven” based on one of his many books.. In most films logic has to be left at the door but with this one also leave your brains there.

    The opening scene shows Katie (Julianne Hough) running from what could be a murder scene. In the fastest time ever in a film she cuts and dyes her hair, gets on a bus going to Atlanta, even though the police are looking for her, gets off in a small town and within minutes gets a job, rents a cabin, meets a guy Alex (Josh Duhamel) who lost his wife 2 years previously to cancer and is bringing up their two kids Lexi (Mimi Kirkland) who was too young to really remember her and Josh (Noah Lomax) who misses her and, by the way, Alex gives Katie a bike in the middle of the night since she doesn’t have any transportation, though she really doesn’t need it--remember this is a small town--and meets Jo, her neighbor who lives down the way. Whew! We haven’t even gotten into the main thrust of the story.

    There isn’t a cliche that the director, Lasse Hallstrom, or the screenwriters, Dana Stevens and Gage Lansky, don’t love and feel they have to put up on the screen. We haven’t even mentioned fireworks filling the sky, children in jeopardy, homes on fire, a policeman who misuses his power, canoe rides, lovers getting caught in the rain not to forget the very unbelievable ending though the lovers and kids will live happily ever after as this is a Hollywood/ Nicholas Sparks movie. There is a thriller aspect added to the love story but adds nothing to the film.

    Josh Duhamel goes through the 5 o’clock shadow stage here and there while Julianne Hough looks better as a blonde than a brunette but with either color there is very little chemistry between the leads. Mimi Kirkland and Noah Lomax do a good job while most of the supporting cast blend into the wood.

    While you can’t say Hallstrom does a bad job there are one too many poorly edited scenes and as a director he really doesn’t bring anything special to the film.

    The star of the movie is really the small town of Southport, North Carolina, which is movie perfect.

    Though “Safe Haven” is being touted as a romantic film the best romantic film available on the big screen today is “Amour” that shows what love really is all about.
    Full Review »
  3. Feb 23, 2013
    9
    I usually do not like romance movies, but this one provided a good mix between action and romance. I thought the story line was very good andI usually do not like romance movies, but this one provided a good mix between action and romance. I thought the story line was very good and kept me guessing the whole time. I do not understand why the ratings are so bad, if your not just looking for love, but for some action with it, I would definitely suggest this movie. Full Review »