We got an invite to see a test screening of a movie called Safe Haven.  I decided to go see it on my own and saw one of my friends in line.  So I line hopped in next to her and she asks me, “So, are you a big Nicholas Sparks fan?”  I had no idea who he was and she laughed as she told me he writes he writes books that get made into chick flicks.  I was about ready to just turn around and go home, but I love Free Movies, so I stayed.

   I have only seen one Nicholas Sparks movie and it was The Notebook. (If you are a fan, Amazon has 4 of his best movies on DVD for a little under 10 bucks!) I hated the flashback story line, but I loved watching the James Garner read it.  If they would have taken any other romantic film and re-cut it to be the story he was reading, it would have been awesome.

   So went into the movie pretty blind of what to expect.  Keep in mind I saw a test screening, so it may be a bit different from the final version.  They told us it was pretty close to a final cut though.  The movie opens with Katie (Julianne Hough) on the run from the police at a bus station.  She settles in a small town and seems determined to avoid forming personal ties.  A series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex (Josh Duhamel), a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo (Cobie Smulders). Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family. But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her from her past.

   I was surprised at how much I liked this movie.  I am somewhat hand tied as much of the enjoyment I got was watching the mystery unfold as the past of each of the characters comes to light.  The story is very hear warming and there is always a sense of constant movement in the progression.  I wasn’t as big of a fan of Julianne in Footloose, but she has come a long way.  All the acting felt natural.  Except for the kids, they could have been in less scenes but they were cute.  

   The love story is heartfelt and Josh Duhamel is tough enough from his Transformers days you can keep your man card.  Plus there is some action.  One scene the guy next to me also spilled him popcorn on me he was so scarred.  But by the end movie I must admit we both had tears streaming.  But he has more I’m sure.


  Safe Haven does okay with language.  The police have some excrement related curses.  There is mild violence in 3 scenes, and alcoholic drinks are portrayed in a negative light.  What moved Safe Haven to 3 stars is the sexual content.  There is a scene of intense passionate kissing, and a scene of intercourse.  There is no nudity shown, but it is very suggestive.  It was a bit uncomfortable for me as a married man sitting next to my single female friend.  

If you are taking your special someone out for Valentine’s day Safe Haven is a great bet, but if you are in a less serious relationship or single, Warm Bodies might be a much safer option.  I am taking the wife based on the review from the Mormon Movie Guy.  I’ll be taking her to see Safe Haven next week.