Lasse Hallstrom’s Safe Haven with Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough is based on the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name. Before I’ve even told you what it’s about, that already tells you a great deal. If you’re a fan of The Notebook, Dear John, Nights in Rodanthe, you’re probably already in for this one.
The synopsis was written by Sparks:
When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. 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 . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo's empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.
Safe Haven also stars Cobie Smulders and the adorable Noah Lomax (soon to be seen in Playing for Keeps with Gerard Butler).
Hallstrom, whose last film was the utterly charming Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, and whose next is The Hypnotist in his native Sweden, directed Sparks’ Dear John. While I haven’t seen that film, if I’m in the mood for blatant sentimentality and tear-jerkery, it is Hallstrom’s quietly restrained brand that I go for.
Relativity has given us the first four official images from the film, which opens February 8 in the US, just ahead of that all important Valentine’s Day.