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Safe Haven Review Critics


Dave White Profile

This week's Nicholas Sparks film. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The picture-postcard location of Southport, N.C., is the film's strong suit.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    I like Duhamel, and in her first straight-up dramatic role Hough does well enough, though her singing and/dancing career thus far has trained her to oversell, as opposed to sell, as opposed to act naturally.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Stephen Farber

    A thriller element that has not been present in earlier Sparks movies is designed to draw reluctant male viewers to see the picture, but they won’t respond with the same enthusiasm as his core audience of woozy romantics.

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  • See all Safe Haven reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

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).

  • 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?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: Safe Haven's message is heartwarming to the core: Surround yourself with kind, good people, and you can emerge from the darkness that you may find yourself in. But you also have to learn to trust and give to others.  

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Katie is resilient and resourceful and doesn't shy away from the hard work of rebuilding her life. Alex doesn't let his grief overwhelm his ability to be a good father.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Some suspenseful/intense moments. A man stalks a woman; he also tries to choke her and roughs her up. Later, he points a gun straight at her and brandishes it around. A fire consumes an entire building and threatens the lives of three people in or near it. A boy slips on a boat and hits his head, nearly drowning. A woman is shown with a bloodied knife in her hand and stabbing a man with it.

  • sex false2

    Sex: A couple is shown presumably having sex under the covers, but viewers see only their bare shoulders. Some passionate kissing.

  • language false3

    Language: Infrequent use of words including "s--t," "hell," "crap," "damn," "goddamn," "oh my God," and "for Chrissakes."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Logos for Chevrolet, Jeep. The Roxy clothing brand is mentioned during a shopping scene.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: One character is an alcoholic who drinks vodka while driving. He's violent while inebriated. Some beer drinking at social events.