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Still shot from the movie: Safe Haven.

Safe Haven

Katie (Julianne Hough) is running away from dark secrets until she meets Alex Wheatley (Josh Duhamel) in the idyllic community of Southport, North Carolina. But the promise of peace in this safe haven is shattered when her past comes calling. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: B- 3.0
Violence: C
Sexual Content: C+
Language: C+
Drugs/Alcohol: C
Run Time: 116
Theater Release: 13 Feb 2013
Video Release: 07 May 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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If you’re looking for a romance movie any based on a Nicholas Sparks book is sure to be the next best thing to tying a tow truck to your heartstrings. This Valentine’s Day (2013) his novel Safe Haven has been adapted for the big screen. Julianne Hough plays Katie, a woman who is running away from something serious enough that she has a police detective trying to keep up with her. Hopping a bus to Atlanta she ends up in the city of Southport, North Carolina.

The cozy coastal community is populated with laid back townsfolk who enjoy visiting and eating at the always-busy fish shack. Reeling in a job there Katie determines to become invisible and begin a new life. However Alex (Josh Duhamel), the manager of the local general store, can’t help but notice the attractive blonde.

Likely the town’s most eligible widower, Alex is confused at Katie’s initial offish response when he tries to lay down the welcome mat. But his offers of assistance with the newcomer’s fixer-upper residence and his daughter’s (Mimi Kirkland) gregarious personality soon melt Katie’s concerns. And that’s when the audience gets what they came to see—a love story embellished with beautiful oceanfront scenery and quaint village locations. However while the young couple is cavorting in the sunshine (and in the bedroom during one short scene of non-explicit sexual activity) viewers are also made aware of Katie’s dark and dangerous past.

Her previous abusive relationship is a pretty predictable plot twist, so hopefully it is not much of a spoiler to reveal the film contains depictions of domestic violence, including verbal and physical fighting, a stabbing (with some blood effects), arson, gun threats and perilous situations.

Aside from the aforementioned portrayals, the only other content concerns are a few profanities, infrequent scatological slang and terms of deity. While these inclusions may give parents some reasons to question the film’s appropriateness for their teens, no one familiar with Nicholas Sparks’ work needs wonder about what to expect. Safe Haven delivers the sort of sappy ending his stories are famous for. And this movie wraps it up with good performances and beautiful photography, which is sure to please most sentimentalists.

Safe Haven is rated PG-13: for thematic material involving threatening behavior, and for violence and sexuality.

Director: Lasse Hallström
Cast: Cobie Smulders, Julianne Hough, David Lyons, Josh Duhamel
Studio: 2013 Relativity Media / Twentieth Century Fox
Website: Official site for Safe Haven.

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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