x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Safe Haven: A typical Nicholas Sparks adaptation

Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel in Safe Haven. Courtesy Relativity Media
Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel in Safe Haven. Courtesy Relativity Media

Director: Lasse Hallström

Starring: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel

**

In another adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, a young woman with a troubled past (Julianne Hough) is determined to isolate herself in her new home town until she meets the handsome widower Alex (Josh Duhamel).

Taking an almost crawling pace, Safe Haven hits the usual Sparks markers: idyllic setting, past tragedy, the chance of emotional redemption. Hallström's direction is comforting in its familiarity but his talents are somewhat wasted. There rarely feels like there's anything at stake.

Duhamel and Hough make a visually pleasing couple, although neither provide enough for you to truly cheer for them. The film's melodramatic twists and turns make for diverting viewing, but few will leave the cinema feeling they've seen something original or affecting.