Safe Haven (film)

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Safe Haven
Safe Haven Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lasse Hallström
Produced by Marty Bowen
Chad Freet
Wyck Godfrey
Ryan Kavanaugh
Screenplay by Gage Lansky
Dana Stevens
Based on Safe Haven 
by Nicholas Sparks
Starring Julianne Hough
Josh Duhamel
Cobie Smulders
David Lyons
Music by Deborah Lurie[1]
Cinematography Terry Stacey
Edited by Andrew Mondshein
Relativity Media
Temple Hill Entertainment
Distributed by Relativity Media
Release dates
  • February 14, 2013 (2013-02-14)
Running time
116 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $28 million[3]
Box office $97,594,140[4]

Safe Haven is a 2013 American romance 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 of the same name. The film was originally set for a February 8 release, but was moved to February 14, 2013.[5] The film was widely panned by critics, but was nonetheless financially successful with a worldwide gross of $97.6 million against its $28 million budget.


A woman leaves her house in Boston holding a bloody knife. She is shown moments later at the bus station trying 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. After acquiring a job as a waitress and renting a small house on the edge of town, Katie Feldman (Julianne Hough) 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).

Katie and Alex eventually start a relationship, and she becomes like a mother to Josh and Lexie. Meanwhile, Kevin Tierney (David Lyons), a Boston police officer, searches for his wife, Erin, and sends out reports saying that she is wanted for attempted murder.

Alex sees Erin's picture 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 she 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 Kevin is her husband, an abusive alcoholic whom she stabbed in self-defense before fleeing to Southport under another name. Meanwhile, Kevin 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, Kevin sees Katie kissing Alex, which enrages him. Later, 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 fast asleep Lexie. Suddenly, Kevin appears and confronts her, drunkenly 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 lake by boat, and saves Lexie. Meanwhile, Katie tries to fight off Kevin, who is attempting to shoot her. After a long struggle, she makes one last desperate grab at the gun and it goes off, killing Kevin.

Later on, Alex finds several letters written by his late wife, 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. The movie ends with the revelation that Jo, who had supposedly left town moments before, is actually the ghost of Alex's wife.



The film began principal photography on June 18, 2012 in Wilmington and Southport, North Carolina.[6] 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.


Critical reaction for Safe Haven was largely negative.[7][8][9][10][11] 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."[12] Peter Travers summed up his Rolling Stone review with: "I hate Safe Haven. It's a terrible thing to do to your Valentine."[13]

The film has a score of 34 on Metacritic, a "generally unfavorable" score, based on 33 reviews.[14] It holds a 12% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 137 critic reviews.[15]


Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2013 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie - Romance N/A Nominated [16]
2014 Young Artist Award Best Supporting Young Actress in a Feature Film Mimi Kirkland Nominated [17]

Home media[edit]

Safe Haven was released on DVD[18] and Blu-ray on May 7, 2013. [19]


  1. ^ "Deborah Lurie to Score Lasse Hallstrom's 'Safe Haven'". 
  2. ^ "SAFE HAVEN (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2013-01-21. 
  3. ^ "Safe Haven (2013)". 2013-02-14. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  4. ^ "Safe Haven (2013)". 2013-03-04. Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  5. ^ "‘Turkeys’ Gets Date, ‘Safe Haven’ Shifts". Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  6. ^ "Nicholas Sparks movie 'Safe Haven' starts shooting in Wilmington". Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  7. ^ "Episode #127 – Safe Haven", "The Flop House", 1 June 2013, Retrieved on 29 November 2014.
  8. ^ Sharkey, Betsy. "Review: 'Safe Haven' can't find refuge from a cheesy story", "LA Times", 13 February 2013. Retrieved on 29 November 2014.
  9. ^ Holden, Stephen. "Her Date Is a Single Dad; His, a Possible Killer", "New York Times", 13 February 2013. Retrieved on 29 November 2014.
  10. ^ Anderson,Melissa. "Safe Haven: Unable to Ignite", 13 February 2013. Retrieved on 29 November 2014.
  11. ^ Roeper, Richard. "Safe Haven", 12 February 2013. Retrieved on 29 November 2014.
  12. ^ Bradshaw, Peter. "Safe Haven – review", "The Guardian", 28 February 2013, Retrieved on 29 November 2014.
  13. ^ Travers, Peter. "Safe Haven", "Rolling Stone", 14 February 2013, Retrieved on 29 November 2014.
  14. ^ "Safe Haven Reviews", "Metacritic", Retrieved on 29 November 2014.
  15. ^ "Safe Haven", Retrieved on 29 November 2014.
  16. ^ "Complete list of Teen Choice 2013 Awards winners". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Publishing. August 11, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2015. 
  17. ^ "35th Annual Young Artist Awards". Young Artist Awards. Retrieved April 14, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Safe Haven DVD release". March 27, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Safe Haven Blu-ray release". March 27, 2013. 

External links[edit]