Film review | Safe Haven – Julianne Hough & Josh Duhamel strike sparks for Sparks

SAFE HAVEN - JULIANNE HOUGH as Katie and JOSH DUHAMEL as Alex

Another glossy romance from the pen of Nicholas Sparks, Safe Haven borrows much of its plot from the 1991 Julia Roberts suspense chiller Sleeping with the Enemy. There, Roberts’ abused wife took flight and found love under an assumed identity, only for her psycho hubbie to track her down… Here, Julianne Hough (Footloose, Rock of Ages) is the fugitive and a remorseless cop is on her trail, which means that when she fetches up in the picturesque North Carolina resort of Southport and starts falling for Josh Duhamel’s widowed dad, you know it will only be a matter of time before he catches up with her. Safe Haven may be predictable and formulaic, but Hough and Duhamel have a pleasing chemistry and director Lasse Hallström (who helmed 2010’s Sparks’ adaptation Dear John) gives the proceedings a cosy glow. He doesn’t forget that the story’s a mystery as well as a romance, so Hough’s pursuer casts a dark shadow and there are a couple of twists before the end: one blindingly obvious, the other blindingly dumb.

In cinemas from Friday 1st March.

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