User Score
5.4

Mixed or average reviews- based on 62 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 62
  2. Negative: 19 out of 62

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  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 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.
  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.. 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.
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  3. Feb 15, 2013
    9
    I almost missed a lovely movie because of the pitiful reviews. The theatre audience even clapped at the end. How many times do you witness that? I go to the movies all the time and rarely see that. The characters are basically nice people you will like with one exception. That's a relief in comparison to so many movies out there now.
  4. 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 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.
  5. Feb 20, 2013
    1
    Safe Haven? More of crap haven. Unfortunately, this movie falls flat for me. There is just a bland love story, could you even call it love??? Jesus man, come on. The thriller part of it had no 'umph' feeling in it to boost the movie at. So I decided to say: F*ck it. A poor movie that falls flat.
  6. Oct 20, 2013
    7
    A somewhat awkward romance flick, but it's sweet. Dialog is clumsy at times, side-characters aren't developed, and the more tense action moments near the end of the film fall flat. Still it is romantic and touching even though some moments come across as goofy and weird. If you're looking for a movie to watch with your significant other this is a pretty good choice. It may not always hit the mark but when it does it's easy to recommend to fans of this genre. Even as someone who doesn't really have a taste for this kind of thing I found it enjoyable. Expand
  7. Apr 23, 2013
    5
    A Nicholas Sparks adaptation unlike most of the others in that it can be at least at times a powerful film with actual characters and you know, purpose. When Katie (Julianne Hough) flees her hometown and takes refuge from her past in Southport she meets single father Alex (Josh Duhamel) and begins a passionate relationship while her past begins to catch up to her in the form of detective Tierney (David Lyons). Safe Haven is a decent love story that doesn't feel like the usual Nicholas Sparks drivel save for a final twist that almost derails the whole film. The film counts on Hough and she delivers a touching but hardened performance as a woman who has been through a brutal ordeal yet survived. Her isolation, while short lived is the main problem with the film thriving through character interaction, the time she spends alone drags and because of her secrets she prefers seclusion. Duhamel seems unsure in the role but has good chemistry with Hough so the overall feel is still there. The side characters are paper thin and take up valuable minutes of the film extending a picture with very little story. That's not to say its a simple film, in fact it tries to avoid being generic and formulaic although it only really avoids the latter. The film lacks anything special to make it unique so it comes across as ordinary. The director, having adapted Sparks' Dear John knows how to handle the melodrama rife in Sparks' books and in a way its what makes Safe Haven so light and easy to watch but it also means a film about trust, betrayal, death and fear is about as dark as an episode of the Tellytubbies. The film is so sweet at times its sickly and becomes nauseating. Overall the film is terrific in handling the characters and how they interact but it struggles and ultimately fails to surprise or impress upon the viewer any kind of originality. Collapse
  8. Jun 4, 2013
    7
    Safe Haven was exactly what I expected. It was a good movie with an interesting plot, sad parts, and solid acting. Unfortunately it wasn't as good as Nicholas Sparks' best film, The Notebook. Julianne Hough is beautiful and a triple threat but her acting, while capable, wasn't as strong as Rachel McAdams. Josh Duhamel did a solid job opposite of Hough and seems to have more potential as a breakout star. As for the film, the plot was interesting but it dragged quite a bit and had some areas that were just silly. Honestly, the best thing about this movie was the subtle twist thrown in at the end. It changed the meaning of some of the elements of the film and left you with a better feeling for the movie in general. Overall this was an above-average chick flick but it didn't have enough of the thriller element I was hoping for from some of the trailers. Nonetheless, I'm sure most women will enjoy it and some guys, if they are willing to watch it, will probably enjoy it as well. Expand
  9. Feb 20, 2013
    6
    The definition of haven is "a place of safety", so we have here a safe place of safety. This means that the girl is really really safe in the arms of her guy...which is good. But there are some tense moments before that is confirmed! Yes, all very predictable, but what exactly is wrong with that?
  10. Apr 27, 2013
    5
    Movie is not that and bad also not that good.Certainly not worth to go to Cinema or buy a Blue ray.Anyhow movie has decent sound tracks at right scenes also camera work is excellent.Story id bit more of same to Lucky one.
  11. Aug 3, 2013
    5
    Safe Haven is NOT about women's independence. It's about the opposite. I would've liked to see a female helmer work this storyline, even a male director who at least sort of understood women.
  12. Mar 8, 2013
    0
    It's doing what a romantic movie is suppose to do but it leaves you hanging with its emotional gaze at love. Safe Haven is whatever a romantic movie fan loves but I think it will disappoint others.
  13. Jul 14, 2013
    2
    "Safe Haven" attempts to pull heartstrings using every trick in the great book of cliches. What we got here is a plot from paperback thriller mixed with storyline out of cheap romantic novel. The actors keep the predictable end result from falling flat on its face, yet the good moments are very few and much in between.
  14. Feb 23, 2013
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie is an okay romance movie that suffers from the crazy plot twists and only a few good actors. Julianne Hough is alright and Josh Duhamel does better here then in Transformers but the ending just ruined it. Its a good movie if u like romantic movies. Expand
  15. Nov 18, 2013
    3
    Safe Haven is just brutally boring mixed with awful plot twists. There is solid chemistry Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough, but the acting isn't sharp. D+
  16. Mar 17, 2013
    10
    This movie is an opportunity to get in touch and feel your emotions and there are many times in the movie to do just that because it is so cleverly put together. The ratings should be much higher than they are. The movie is all about the human interactions that will cause you to feel what it is like to be the characters if you were in the same situations as they were in. I am a male and i cried at times, good thing the theater was almost empty and nobody saw me. Expand
  17. Mar 24, 2013
    3
    Why do people still make movies off of Nicholas Sparks books? I just don't understand. But of all the Nicholas Sparks books, this one was the most ridiculous. I mean, Trying to combine romance with thrills, makes this movie fail miserably. No wonder valentines day movies suck soo bad.
  18. Mar 31, 2013
    10
    This movie was everything I wanted on a Friday night after a busy day at work. It was another one of Nicholas Sparks' masterpieces that kept me enthralled the whole way through. I was kept on my feet the whole way through and the whole, 'Jo' storyline and ending was really something I didn't expect. Safe Haven is certainly a movie you should see. I give it a 10. Also, this website keeps changing my score from 10 to a 9. Expand
  19. May 6, 2013
    6
    I did watch this on valentines day and it was ok. Just okay because it started off just like a typical love movie and end like they all do. What trally saved this movie from being a complete fail was definetly the ending. I didnt expect it to end that way.
  20. Jun 2, 2013
    9
    Not sure why people are hating on this movie so much. No it's not the best movie but its not terrible. It has action along with suspense and romance. The writing was also good. I give it an 8
  21. May 19, 2013
    2
    This movie was very disappointing. There was little to complain about from Hough or Duhamel, but the story lacked much to be desired. It was simply unrealistic and shallow. Girl escapes an abusive relationship, finds her one true love within weeks, he promises to solve all of her problems, she takes the place of the mother who died of cancer and together they triumph over the past and everybody is able to move on without a scar on any of them.... Really? Sweet, yes, but what happened to creating stories about people, not ideals? Expand
  22. Jun 2, 2013
    8
    My girls have read the book Safe Haven and told me how wonderful the book is. Since I never seem to have time to read, I decided the next best thing was to watch the movie. I enjoyed the movie but felt that it was another version of Sleeping With The Enemy but not as suspenseful. I felt that the story line progressed too quickly at times and more background information could be given. I also felt the love story took off relatively fast in the movie which seemed unrealistic to me considering the information that was given about each character. With this being said I still enjoyed the movie and look forward to a time when I might have time to read the book! Expand
  23. Jun 2, 2013
    10
    My new favorite, since A Walk To Remember and The notebook. I think it's even better than the notebook. Never thought der will be anything better than the two Until I've watched the SAFE HAVEN.
  24. Sep 20, 2013
    6
    Ok, another film based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, Safe Haven isn't perfect, have some good ideas, wich are not fully exploited, but in the development some of these ideas has a great end, the performances are not perfect. but are good, Julianne Hough is for much the best of the movie, and finally the script, is acceptable. Safe Haven is a good movie, and it's better than the Nicholas Sparks movie of the last year (The Lucky One). Expand
  25. Oct 4, 2013
    7
    This movie was actually good, it combines a comedy with a thriller and it works quite well. The ending was surprising i did not expect it. This romantic movie takes a risk by adding thriller elements to it and it pays off.
  26. May 4, 2014
    2
    At this point, you know what to expect. Seriously, each movie based on a Nicholas Sparks book is so unoriginal, even the books themselves have turned repetitive. Another thing I've noticed is that they always come out this time of year. Valentine's Day is supposed to be a time to share love between couples, not give the one you love an excuse to end the relationship.
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: 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.