Box art for Safe Haven

  Safe Haven

romance, thrillers

An affirming and suspenseful story about a young woman's struggle to love again, Safe Haven is based on the novel from Nicholas Sparks, the best-selling author behind the hit films The Notebook and Dear John. 

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 14
1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
2 out of 5
3 out of 5

Predictable romantic drama deals with pretty heavy themes.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Safe Haven (based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks) is a romantic, at times suspenseful drama that's heavy on cliches and formulaic plot twists and light on chemistry and inventiveness. While the romantic stuff is pretty tame for teens, save for one session in bed that reveals bare shoulders, the film does deal with heavy subjects such as death and spousal abuse. One character clearly has an alcohol problem (he's shown drinking while driving), which colors his decisions at work and at home. He also turns violent, resorting to guns and worse. There are also scenes with a destructive fire and a bloody knife, as well as some swearing ("s--t" is the worst of it).

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how Safe Haven portrays relationships. Parents, talk to your kids about the signs of unhealthy (and even abusive) relationships.
  • Is this a typical damsel-in-distress movie? If so, in which way? If not, how?
  • Discuss Katie's decision in the beginning of the movie: Did she have any other recourse?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 1
    see all Safe Haven reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: A cinematic valentine you'll be reasonably content to watch on a flight in a year or so.

- Sara Stewart, New York Post, Thursday, February 14, 2013

Audience Reviews

2 stars

Safe Haven is an overly melodramatic, over the top Nicholas Sparks adaption of his novel and continues his streak of bad movie adaptations. I've never read a single one of his books, but based on the movies I certainly wouldn't want to. Safe Haven isn't the worst one yet (I still think that is The Last Song), but it's still not very good. I'll go over the positives first. The scenery in particular is gorgeous and postcard worthy. The couple looks good together. Josh Duhamel is charming and likable. The first 45 minutes are actually solid and entertaining. Things take a turn for the worst at about that point, though and they never recover. Characters motivations make no sense, the abusive husband goes so far over the top it is completely laughable, and the final twist is manipulative. I've said it before in other reviews and I'll say it again: manipulation just to do it is awful and incredibly annoying. I've never liked movies that do this, even critically acclaimed ones like The Usual Suspects. I just see no point in trying to fool the audience just because. I'm sure there will be an audience out there that digs this movie (females in particular), but even my fianc thought it was all ridiculous and too much.

- jlewis07, Tuesday, May 14, 2013

4 stars

Josh have my heart. This was just wonderful. Sweet. Funny. Complete, and utter chick flick happiness....oh, and what an ending. I had no idea. Good job...

- itsjustme2004, Wednesday, September 18, 2013

2 stars

For a solid two acts, I couldn't hate Safe Haven, the latest in the bland, paint-by-numbers coastal romances based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks. It was chiefly inoffensive but predictable at every step, but I didn't mind. At this point, Sparks is a brand and you know what you're getting. Julianne Hough (Rock of Ages) plays a woman on the run from a corrupt Boston cop. She may or may not have killed a man. She hides out in a North Carolina fishing village and comes to love a hunky widower (Josh Duhamel) with a pair of annoying kids. Their coupling is somewhat restrained given the sudsy context; they don't kiss until close to an hour in. What benefited the film was having a dangerous external threat, the corrupt cop, circling in. This alone raised the stakes of what ordinarily would be a pleasant but mostly mild romance between two pretty people. However, it is that third act, the concluding half hour, where Safe Haven just loses its mind. One twist is a given, though it makes the Boston PD look either incompetent or collusive, but the final twist comes out of nowhere, bringing in a supernatural factor that left me gob smacked. All I kept repeating was, "What?" It's such a contrived, immediately stupid twist ending, trying to bridge a simple romance with something like The Sixth Sense. I can't say whether the twist existed in Sparks source material, but wherever it originated, I can predict you won't find a dumber twist ending to a film all year. Safe Haven is two part of a good-looking albeit mediocre movie with a final dash of half-baked lunacy. Nate's Grade: C-

- mrbungle7821, Wednesday, August 21, 2013