Safe Haven.

Last weekend, Brett so kindly took me to see Safe Haven for my birthday. I hadn’t read the book, but I’m a big fan of Julianne Hough, and the few things I’d seen of Josh Duhamel’s I enjoyed.

The movie surprised me. It’s been a while since I really enjoyed a Nicholas Sparks movie, so my hopes weren’t too high.

Unlike the Sparks stories we’ve all grown to expect, this one had more action and twists than I had expected. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no Die Hard. But, Duhamel isn’t throwing out “if you’re a bird, I’m a bird” quotes either.

Safe Haven has many different relationships playing out through the movie, new and old, but all on the fast track to a cataclysmic ending.

While I won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

We follow the story of Katie, a somewhat shy woman who has fled from her home in Boston for reasons unknown to us. While trying to start over in a sleepy town just south of the Mason Dixon, she meets Alex and his two children, at the store he owns. Her frequent visits spur a friendship first with his daughter, Lexie, and eventually the rest of the family.

The pleasant but simple life she has built is threatened when a man from her past floods back into her life unexpectedly. And that’s all I’ll say.

There’s romance. There’s action. There’s scene stealers and there’s fireworks. (Literally, there’s a firework show.)

Duhamel, who plays Alex, delivered as the small-town man who is struggling to provide a mother and father for his children who he loves more than anything else. Hough is equally as good. She brightens the screen with her laughter and piercing blue eyes. The chemistry between the two is noticeable and unforced, playing into their relationship.

But, the real scene stealer comes from pint sized Mimi Kirkland, who plays Lexie. She delivered one-liners better than most and has an infectious smile and laugh.

Not to leave out Lexie’s brother Josh, played by Noah Lomax. It’s evident his quiet demeanor is a coping mechanism following the loss of his mom.

That's the thing about life. A lot of time, it isn't easy at all. We just have to try to make the best of it.

That’s the thing about life. A lot of time, it isn’t easy at all. We just have to try to make the best of it.

And David Lyons, the troubled past, really impressed me. Many may know him from Eat, Pray, Love, but I never saw it. Here, he plays a deranged alcoholic. He had me truly frightened and on the edge of my seat many times.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie, and it made me immediately begin reading the book.

Maybe it’s because I read the book after seeing the movie, but dare I say I enjoyed the movie more.

There are always things that movies can’t portray as well as books. Sparks’s ability to send the reader into the alcoholic, David’s mind, is something that wasn’t as complete in the movie. (Despite Lyon’s superb job.)

Sparks stuck to his normal repertoire, placing the story in a North Carolina town named Southport. The small town feel he provides is something I can easily relate to and enjoy in a way Hollywood can’t quite convey as perfectly as his words can.

Aside from that, the changes in the movie appealed to me more. For me, the movie had a more dramatic build up than the book, but I realize that may be my own fault for seeing the movie before reading the book.

Despite all of this, I enjoyed both. It was a change of pace to spend most of my time frantically reading instead of being glued to my phone.

I enjoy reading, and find it one of the simpler pleasures in life. And now that I’ve been reminded of that, I hope to continue to read more frequently.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and that you all can rediscover some of the simpler pleasures in your life.

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