Student Voice


February 26, 2024




‘Safe Haven’ plays role of typical chick flick

March 21, 2013

The newest Nicholas Sparks film hit theaters recently, but sadly this chick flick will just make you sick.

Katie (Julianne Hough) is being followed. A police officer with mysterious intentions is searching for her, and all Katie knows is that being caught by him means death. But Katie has finally found solace in Southport, N.C., where she plans to start her new life. There she meets convenience store worker Alex Wheatley (Josh Duhamel) and all the great people that Southport has to offer, and it looks like she may finally be at peace.

But her cruel past is not far behind, with the mysterious police officer at the middle of it all.

In the end, she will have to face her past if she ever wants to continue living her life and loving the new family she has found.

All I can say about my thoughts before the movie is that I knew it was going to be a Sparks film, and that has always screamed “chick flick” to movie goers. Movie adaptions of Sparks’ novels have always meant ill for boyfriends whose girlfriends want them to experience something lovey-dovey for once. I would like to say to those boyfriends that it gets better from here, but my experience with this movie says otherwise.

“Safe Haven’s” plot is where this movie is at its weakest, and it ultimately brings the film down.

The plot moves at a sloth’s pace when trying to set up all the drama and interactions between characters, and is so choppy with its conflict that you begin to forget over time that Katie is being chased by a police officer at all.

You never get a major sense of urgency or importance when following the conflict, and even when the movie dedicates time to show the fear Katie has of being found, it comes off as unnecessarily cut into the film and pointless.

But it does not stop there with the movie’s plot; the whole concept feels like something my 18-year-old self wrote in a 12th grade creative writing class. To make matters worse, the movie tries so hard to tug at your heartstrings and get a loving sigh out of you that it makes itself boringly mushy, as much as it makes you want it all to be over.

Finally, the movie’s plot twists add the ultimate insult to any movie goer, as the movie contains two twists to its plot which I won’t spoil. Rather I will say that the first twist is somewhat predictable, while the second is one of the most head-scratchingest, confusing and downright idiotic twists I’ve seen since the last M. Night Shyamalan film I saw.

Not much can really be said of the rest of the film. The direction is OK, the music knows when to be soft and loud for each moment in the feature, and the acting is fair enough, though some performances, especially from kids, can feel cheesy and manipulative to make you feel for what’s happening.

At the end, though, the question should be asked: did this film at least set out to do what it was supposed to be, a chick flick? The answer is, painfully, yes.

The movie looks at the relationship between a man and a woman and shows their relationship develop into love, but as a movie goer, to see such a concept done so poorly and schmaltzy so as to make me want to leave the theater, that I just can’t forgive.

So to all the boyfriends (or girlfriends) out there who were dragged to the theater for this flick, I say just bear through and laugh at the bad, because in the end laughing “Safe Haven” off is the only way to dull the schmaltzy pain it gives you.

Ryan Funes is a lover of all things movie, TV, video games and stories and wants to become a television writer someday. In his spare time he enjoys hanging with friends, tapping into his imagination, and watching cartoons of all kinds.


Steve Cherry on 22 Mar 2013: Like many critics, Mr. Funes finds fault with the obvious. The novel, Safe Haven, was written by a North Carolinian. Nick Sparks like to write about what he knows. The actors and crew that were in Southport last summer loved being here. Maybe my prejudice is showing, I thought the real star of the film was my hometown, Southport! It really is the place to be for the 4th of July!