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As human nature would have it, it’s not a rare thing to fall in and out of love a number of times in one person’s lifetime. But, then, there are those even more rare cases of finding the one true love that may occur only once in a person’s life and lasting even longer than a lifetime. Relativity Media’s “Safe Haven”, directed by Lasse Hallstrom is a story about one of those such rare cases.
Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, the story opens with a young woman, who simply goes by “Katie”, played by Julianne Hough, as she is seen fiercely escaping danger. It’s not yet revealed what the circumstances are. She resurfaces in the small, ocean side tourist town of Southport in North Carolina, which is also where the film was shot.
Her small town surroundings and the people within it embrace Katie a lot sooner than she is ready to reciprocate. One such resident being Alex (Josh Duhamel) who is a father of two and a widower of four years loosing his wife to cancer. A very guarded Katie is constantly reminded of her runaway status from, as more of her back-story is revealed, her husband who is a Boston police detective (David Lyons) in charge of locating escaped criminals.
With a small window of opportunity to get to know Alex and his family more, Katie decides to enter their lives as his kids start to grow more fond of her. However, when her husband’s detective skills lead him directly to her, a series of events results in a new awakening for Katie and Alex’s family alike where new beginnings are a welcome.
The last fifteen minutes of “Safe Haven” includes a real tear-jerker and a surprise ending is revealed. I challenge anyone to have a dry eye after that. Josh Duhamel as “Alex” and Julianne Hough as “Katie” were a perfect fit and carried the storyline perfectly.
Also very impressive performances came from child actors Noah Lomaz as “Josh”, Alex’s son, and Mimi Kirland as “Lexie”, Alex’s daughter. Actress Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) carries this love story within a love story beautifully. A winning formula all the way around, “Safe Haven” is a touching story that is well-played out.
Appropriately, “Safe Haven” opens in theaters this Valentines Day, February 14, 2013.
SAFE HAVEN Cast Interviews here