Safe Haven (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Lasse Hallström|
|Produced by||Marty Bowen
|Screenplay by||Gage Lansky
|Based on||Safe Haven
by Nicholas Sparks
|Music by||Deborah Lurie|
|Edited by||Andrew Mondshein|
Temple Hill Entertainment
|Distributed by||Relativity Media|
Safe Haven is a 2013 American romantic drama thriller film starring Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel and Cobie Smulders. It was released theatrically in North America on February 14, 2013. The film was directed by Lasse Hallström, and is an adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' 2010 novel Safe Haven. The film was originally set for a February 8 release, but was moved to February 14, 2013.
A frightened woman (Julianne Hough) flees her house in Boston, holding a bloody knife. After taking shelter with a neighbor, she is shown moments later at the bus station trying to flee town. She buys a bus ticket with her hair now cropped and bleached and stops in the small town of Southport, North Carolina. At the general store, she introduces herself as Katie Feldman. After acquiring a job as a waitress and renting a small house on the edge of town, Katie befriends her neighbor, Jo (Cobie Smulders) and meets Alex Wheatley (Josh Duhamel), a widowed father of two young children, Josh (Noah Lomax) and Lexie (Mimi Kirkland), who operates the local general store and gives Katie a bicycle so she won't have to walk.
It's not too long before Katie and Alex start a relationship, and she becomes like a mother to Josh and Lexie. Meanwhile, Kevin Tierney (David Lyons), a Boston police detective, prepares wanted posters for a woman named "Erin" which describe that she is wanted for attempted murder. Alex sees Erin's wanted poster in the police station and notices the picture bears a striking resemblance to Katie. He confronts Katie with the information, causing a huge fight. They break up, and Katie moves out of her house.
As Katie is about to leave town, however, Alex intercepts her and says that he has fallen in love with her. Katie returns his love, and decides to stay in Southport. She tells Alex that she fled to Southport to escape her abusive and alcoholic husband. They got in a fight, and she stabbed him in self-defense before she fled south.
Meanwhile, Kevin is suspended for creating the wanted posters, whereupon it is revealed that he is Katie's (Erin's) abusive and alcoholic husband. Enraged, he breaks into Katie's former neighbor's home back in Boston and finds the phone number to the Southport restaurant where Katie works. Arriving just in time for the town's Fourth of July parade, a severely intoxicated Kevin sees Katie kissing Alex, which enrages him. That night, Katie has a dream that she is standing on the docks watching the fireworks when Jo comes up and tells Katie that "he" is here. Katie wakes up in the convenience store next to a sleeping Lexie when Kevin suddenly appears and confronts her, demanding that she go back with him. She refuses and tells him to leave. Kevin pulls a gun and pours gasoline all over the store, with the intent to burn it down.
When he hesitates, Katie buys time by faking sympathy for him and agreeing to return home with him. When he lets his guard down, she pushes him into the water; however, a firework spark lands on the gasoline, igniting a fire that engulfs the store. Alex sees the burning store, quickly makes his way across the harbor by boat, and saves Lexie. Meanwhile, Katie tries to fight off Kevin; during the struggle, the gun goes off and kills Kevin, ridding her of him forever.
In the aftermath of the fire, Alex recovers several letters which were written by his late wife Carly before she died. The letters prepared ahead of time for memorable events such as Josh's eighteenth birthday and Lexie's wedding day. Alex gives Katie a letter with the words "To Her" on the envelope; the letter thanks the recipient for making Alex happy. Enclosed with the letter is a photo of Alex's late wife, whom Katie is astonished to discover was actually Jo. This means that Jo was Carly, in the form of an angel, who led Katie to her husband, Alex.
- Josh Duhamel as Alex Wheatley
- Julianne Hough as Erin Tierney/Katie Feldman
- Cobie Smulders as Jo/Carly
- David Lyons as Detective Kevin Tierney
- Mimi Kirkland as Lexie Wheatley
- Noah Lomax as Josh Wheatley
- Irene Ziegler as Mrs. Feldman
- Robin Mullins as Maddie
- Red West as Roger. This was West's last film role before his death in July 2017
- Juan Carlos Piedrahita as Detective Ramirez
- Cullen Moss as Deputy Bass
- Mike Pniewski as Lieutenant Robinson
The film began principal photography on June 18, 2012 in Wilmington and Southport, North Carolina. Parts of it were filmed in Louisiana and the opening scene with Katie on the Coach America bus is on the Linn Cove Viaduct along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain in Linville, North Carolina.
Safe Haven grossed US$71,349,120 in North America and US$26,245,020 in other territories for a worldwide total of US$97,594,140.
Critical reaction for Safe Haven was largely negative. Peter Bradshaw, writing for The Guardian, called Safe Haven's setting "a sugary vision of small-town America that does not correspond with the real world at any point." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film zero stars out of four, and concluded his review by stating: "I hate Safe Haven. It's a terrible thing to do to your Valentine."
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie: Romance||Nominated|||
|Young Artist Awards||Best Supporting Young Actress in a Feature Film||Mimi Kirkland||Nominated|||
In popular culture
Though the romance aspect dominates this movie, in the thriller component (a deranged stalker), there is a slight echo of the two Cape Fear films, both the 1962 original with Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck, and the Martin Scorsese 1991 remake with Robert De Niro and Nick Nolte. The town of Southport is on the Cape Fear waterway which was where the denouement of both movies occurs.
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