The name Nicholas Sparks is well known across the nation. Famous for his romantically dramatic novels, Sparks has become quite a success. With a large audience reading his books, individuals in Hollywood were right to assume the stories would carry over well in the film industry. The first adaptation to arrive in theaters was Message in a Bottle, starring Kevin Costner and Robin Wright Penn. Although it received mixed reviews, Hollywood kept on writing screenplays of Sparks’ novels, including the hits A Walk to Remember and The Notebook.
The most recent Sparks novel to be adapted into a film is Safe Haven. The movie, starring Josh Duhamel and Julian Hough, follows the story of Erin (Hough), a woman who runs away from her past by leaving her home and hopping on a bus to Southport, North Carolina. It is in Southport that Erin makes a new life for herself, changing her name to Katie, getting a job at a local diner, befriending her neighbor Jo (Cobie Smulders), and starting a relationship with Alex (Duhamel), manager of the convenience store in town.
While Erin is in the process of starting over, flashbacks of her past lead the audience to believe she killed her husband. Because of this, Lieutenant Kevin Tierney (David Lyons), the officer in charge of investigating the case, sends out a warrant for Erin’s arrest for killing her husband. It is not until later in the movie that the audience discovers Lieutenant Tierney is actually Erin’s husband, and an abusive drunk, which is why Erin ran away. At this point in the film, the audience has an aww moment, one when the realization comes that Erin never committed murder and that her husband is still alive and is the Lieutenant.
Being an adaptation of Sparks’ novel, it is no surprise the movie ends happily, with everything working out for the best, even though some tears may be shed in the process. The film, which opened in theaters on Valentine’s Day, brought in quite a crowd and a decent ratings. Hough being new to acting, she was not expected to have an Oscar winning performance and she did not disappoint, appearing rather mediocre. It was no shocker that Duhamel played his role well, considering he has portrayed the leading man who falls in love in many other chick flicks. Even though it is a romantic film, there are many twists and turns that were unexpected to those who had not read the book previously to seeing the film, making it less of a girly film. In fact, Michael London, a junior who saw the movie opening day, was surprised at his reaction exclaiming, I thought I was being dragged to just another chick flick, but the movie wasn’t that bad. It kept my attention the whole time with it’s mystery driven story and plot twists.
The twists that London discusses is what makes the film unlike any of the other adaptations of Sparks’ novels. However, while watching the movie some might see similarities to the film Sleeping with the Enemy, starring Julia Roberts. Both films focus on women who run away from bad marriages, only to be followed by their husbands, leading to a heart pounding finish.
Like London, many audience members will be pleased with the adaptation of Safe Haven. The romantic, mystery aspect is sure to keep the audiences’ attention and even have them jumping in their seats, making the film worthwhile, even for guys who think it is just another chick flick.