Posted by on March 1, 2013

(Special thanks to Elizabeth Dahl for guest blogging today with her review of the movie Safe Haven.)

Movie ReelWhen looking for a good romantic movie, one based off a Nicolas Sparks book rarely goes wrong.  I saw the movie Safe Haven with my little sister the other day, and it left me a little confused.  Like any book/movie duo, the movie didn’t do the book justice.

 (However, both were lacking, in general, when it came to the story line, plot, and character development.)

In Safe Haven, a woman runs away from her abusive, police officer husband, and finds her way to a small town in South Carolina where she then falls in love with a widowed man with two children.  

Trouble follows Katie, the main character, to this secluded town and shows her what it really means to love and trust someone.

The movie Safe Haven looked pretty different from the book. No one’s appearance was as it was described in the book and several of the characters changed genders too.  Even some of the names were changed for the movie.  

Having read the book first, I was really confused for the first five minutes trying to figure out who everyone was, since so many people had changed.  These changes, though, didn’t affect my sister in the slightest, since she hadn’t read the book ahead of time.

Little things, like the appearance/disappearance of some characters, only felt slightly annoying compared to the change in the romance between Alex and Katie.  The book depicts a romance that takes time and trust to develop into anything.  Alex’s background in military counseling allows him to see the affects of abuse on Katie.  Because of this, he has a better understanding of Katie and is open to knowing more of her past.  It also allows for trust to build between the two.  

The movie, however, sets their romance on hyper speed.  Alex and Katie have barely known each other when Alex begins to hit on her.  Their relationship progresses so quickly that they end up in bed together before you know it.  Very little trust is built, and when Alex finds out about Katie’s questionable past, he turns on her immediately.  A relationship that Mr. Sparks wrote to take several months to grow and develop breaks down within a couple of weeks in the movie.

There were several points, as well, where it got confusing as to what was going on.  My sister confessed to not understanding several points of the movie.  I would have to agree.  

The flashbacks to Katie running away were very confusing, and although the director was aiming to make it look as if she had murdered someone, those flashbacks only succeeded in confusing the audience even more.  

The character named Jo was also poorly depicted and explained.  What was once a powerful friend and an important confidant turned into an afterthought of the directors.  She didn’t play as big a role in the movie as she did in the book, and her true identity was poorly explained in the movie.

I know I have said a lot of negative stuff about the movie so far, but this is coming from the point of view of someone who read the book beforehand.  However, there were a couple of changes I did appreciate.  In the book, Katie escapes on her own, but in the movie, an older couple helps her in her flight.  Another change that I liked was the location of Alex’s house.  In the book, he lives above his convenience store, however the movie moves the house across the street from the store and puts a special room for Alex’s late wife in the room above the store.

Overall the movie was decent.  Confusion will probably arise from some of the choices made by the director, but my best antidote for that would be to read the book (but do that AFTER the movie, or it will be ruined by your own ideas of how things should have been done).  Both the book and the movie left me with a desire for a little more, and the closure in both was poor, but it is a nice story and an excellent date night movie (considering that everyone in the theater was a couple except for my sister and me).  

So that is what I have to say about Safe Haven. 

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Niki Christiansen
11 years ago

Tell Elizabeth she did a GREAT job as your guest blogger…I guess writing well runs in the family! 😉


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