Safe Haven parents guide

Safe Haven Parent Guide

Overall B-

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.

Release date February 13, 2013

Violence C
Sexual Content C+
Profanity C+
Substance Use C

Why is Safe Haven rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Safe Haven PG-13 for thematic material involving threatening behavior, and for violence and sexuality.

Run Time: 116 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

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.

Directed by Lasse Hallström. Starring Cobie Smulders, Julianne Hough, David Lyons, Josh Duhamel. Running time: 116 minutes. Theatrical release February 13, 2013. Updated

Safe Haven
Rating & Content Info

Why is Safe Haven rated PG-13? Safe Haven is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for thematic material involving threatening behavior, and for violence and sexuality.

Violence: Brief scenes of serious domestic disputes between a man and a woman include verbal arguments, physical altercations, choking and stabbing (with blood effects). A character pours gasoline on a building that later bursts into flames while a child is inside. A man pushes a woman to the ground and threatens her with a gun, and a character is shot.

Sexual Content: An unmarried man and woman kiss passionately. Sexual activity is depicted with non-explicit images of the couples’ backs and sides.

Language: Three scatological curses are used, along with a few terms of deity.

Drugs/Alcohol: An undeclared alcoholic is frequently seen drinking, including while driving. Intoxication leads a character to commit violent acts.

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Safe Haven Parents' Guide

The City of Southport is a real community in North Carolina. You can check their website at for more information.

This is the 8th Nicholas Sparks novel that’s been turned into a movie (out of a total of 17 published works). Why do you think his novels are so popular? What, if any, unique features do they have?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Safe Haven movie is May 7, 2013. Here are some details…

Home Video Notes: Safe Haven

Release Date: 7 May 2013

Safe Haven releases to home video (Blu-ray and DVD) with the following extras:

- Deleted and extended scenes

- Alternate ending

- Igniting the Romance in Safe Haven

- Set Tour

- Josh Duhamel’s Lessons in Crabbing

Related home video titles:

This movie is based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, who also penned the books that inspired The Notebook, Dear John, The Last Song and A Walk to Remember. Another man hoping to forget his past finds himself caught up in the charm of a small community in the film, The Magic of Belle Isle.