The newest Nicholas Sparks book based film, Safe Haven, is worth the price of a ticket. While it isn’t The Notebook, the movie is still very good. Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel have incredible chemistry and the villain is truly frightening.
Julianne Hough plays the heroine — Katie. You learn early in the film that she’s running away from something. However, one has to keep watching to find out exactly what that is.
The man Katie is running from is an unscrupulous cop who pulls out all the stops to find her. The cop tracks her to the bus station and searches every bus looking for her. Luckily, Katie manages to get away.
The bus is headed to Atlanta. However, along the way it stops in a small Carolina fishing village. Katie immediately falls in love with the town and decides to stay there. She gets a job at a local restaurant and then she finds a cabin in the woods, not far from town. It’s a bit ramshackle as evidenced by her putting you foot through the kitchen floor her first night. Still, she doesn’t let it discourage her. She decides to brighten things up by painting the kitchen floor.
She goes to the local store for paint. It’s co-owned and operated by a widower named Alex. It’s his daughter, Lexie, who chooses the color for Katie’s floor — yellow.
Alex is quickly taken by Katie. However, she gives him the cold shoulder but seems to adore Lexie. When Alex fixes up an old bike to make her trip back and forth between town and home more bearable, Katie returns it. Alex promises her no similar act of kindness will happen again. However, that all changes when Katie sees Alex’s son Josh fall and hit his head on a boat just before plunging into the water. She screams and alerts Alex. They both go running to rescue the boy.
Alex gets there first, so Katie takes a scared Lexie into her arms. She keeps her calm until her brother says he’s okay. After that, it becomes evident that Katie and Josh are on the road to a friendship and maybe something more.
One thing leads to another and before long, Katie is spending time with the family. Even Josh takes a liking to her. Alex begins to fall hard and so does Katie. That’s when it becomes evident that something is going to go wrong.
That something is Tierney, the cop who is diligently searching for Katie. He puts out an all points bulletin that accuses her of murder. One of the wanted pictures gets posted in the police station of the small town. That’s where Alex sees the picture. Katie’s lover confronts her with the charge but doesn’t bother to ask her if it’s true. Then he yells at her for putting his children in danger and then tells her to leave town.
Elsewhere, Tierney is stalking the woman who lived across the street from Katie. He suspects the woman knows where Katie is, but he can’t prove it. That is, until he finds a recipe for cherry pie among Katie’s things. It just so happens the neighbor in question has a cherry tree.
He compares the handwriting on the recipe with the woman’s mail. It matches. He then demands the woman talk to him. She refuses, telling him to get a warrant. Unfortunately, he can’t do that. Once he gets back to the station, he’s confronted by his captain who wants an explanation why Tierney’s wife is pictured on a warranted poster. Then he suspends Tierney from duty.
As Katie packs to leave town, Jo visits her. The two women met when Jo scoped out Katie’s digs shortly after she moved in. She thinks they’re both just escaping city life. The women become friends. It is Jo who tries to convince Katie not to leave town but she won’t listen.
Alex then decides he wants to hear Katie’s side of the story. He tracks her down in the nick of time and she tells she was abused by her husband. He asks her why she didn’t just call the cops to which she answers, “He is a cop”. That’s when Alex understands how deep in trouble Katie really is. He takes her home with him to keep her safe.
Meanwhile, Tierney breaks into the neighbor’s house and finds a phone message Katie left. He tracks the number down and finds out where his wife is. He arrives in town thoroughly drunk during a Fourth of July celebration. He finds Katie at the evening festivities but backs off when he sees her kissing Alex. He waits until Alex leaves and then confronts Katie, telling her he’s there to take her home.
Katie refuses to leave and Tierney pretends to leave the premises. She runs inside to hide Lexie. That’s when she sees Tierney pouring gasoline everywhere. She runs outside to stop him, begging him to take her home. It looks like the diversion works. He closes the lighter and they begin to move away.
Sadly, a spark from the fireworks touches the gasoline soaked wood and starts a fire. Katie pushes Tierney into the water and turns to go after Lexie. She’s looking for a way in when Tierney comes back and starts beating her.
Luckily, Alex sees the fire and comes running. He manages to get to Lexie and pull her out of the house, but he falls off the roof before getting her to safety.
Will he save his daughter? Will Katie get away from Tierney? These are questions that can’t be answered without giving away the ending of Safe Haven. Besides they don’t pack the real the punch that caps off the film. There’s yet another surprise in store.
This movie is a perfect date night film. Women will love it and men won’t mind it either. It’s worth the time and effort.