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67 thoughts we had while watching Safe Haven

By Courtney Enlow

Nicholas Sparks is known for one thing above all else: subtlety. LOL JK, the man has never met a premise, foreshadow, or concept he couldn't slam into your face like a pie to a clown. In Safe Haven, he tackles domestic violence, a topic he handles with grace and dignity (*shakes head no*) and the paranormal (kind of) all set in the background of A Carolina of Some Kind. White people in love meets secret ghosts. Clearly, this is a job for Deja View.

  1. We see Julianne Hough running in a very obvious wig. She is carrying a grocery bag. She is hugging a lady.
  2. SHE IS BLONDE NOW. She is leaving. She is going places.
  3. She is slammed into by off-brand Richard Jenkins with a ponytail. She is on a bus. There are cops. She has a hoodie.
  4. I say this all very quickly both because this is a woman in trauma and I don’t want to mock her pain, but also because THIS IS LITERALLY HOW QUICKLY THE MOVIE DOES THIS. Then it’s all soft music and a Carolina of Some Kind because that’s how Nicholas Sparks do.
  5. I think a lot about how the first big-BIG Nicholas Sparks movie had Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling and how everything that followed has been decreasingly and decreasingly budget iterations of Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling.
  6. Josh Duhamel isn’t even the rich man’s Josh Duhamel. He’s the RC Cola Timothy Olyphant.
  7. Julianne Hough and her flawless dye job that in no way occurred in a neighbor’s sink falls immediately in love with some manner of Carolina and stays there.
  8. This film was directed by legit outstanding director Lasse Hallström. I don’t have a joke. He’s been through enough.
  9. Julianne Hough has not yet spoken this entire movie. Presumably because the filmmakers were like “oops, we hired a dancer.”
  10. There is a coffee shop/fish shop/beach diner where Julianne Hough is all "can I work here" and gets spooked by a coffeemaker because PTSD and owner lady is all "HA we have fun here." In fairness, she didn't see the beginning of the movie. In additional fairness, we barely saw the beginning of this movie.
  11. She immediately finds a perfect adorable forest house WITH WAINSCOTTING. Who doesn’t love a good WAINSCOTTING?
  12. Julianne Hough, who is clearly traumatized, immediately falls in a hole because THE BLONDE LADY HAS NOT BEEN THROUGH ENOUGH I GUESS.
  13. She goes to Josh Duhamel's store of groceries, coffee, paint, hardware, and Specific Julianne Hough Needs to purchase things from a very small childgirl. She is Precocious. She should not be Running a Store.
  14. They sell basmati rice like all convenience/hardware/paint stores do. This is a normal thing in a normal place that is normal. Like, look, clearly I know there’s a genre element to this movie or I wouldn’t be doing this, but the magic grocery store actually isn’t it.
  15. Cobie Smulders is wandering around Julianne Hough’s house like a beautiful perfect creep. She mysteriously knows Julianne Hough moved to A Carolina to get some peace and quiet and to hide from something mysterious but mostly Julianne Hough’s hair looks amazing. Like that is an unreal sink cut, so much so that it’s the most fantastic element of the film even after the reveal I will not yet discuss.
  16. Scary cop man with minimal eyebrows is looking for Julianne Hough and I will tell you it's her husband. It’s Julianne Hough's husband. This is not second-watch Court spoilers, this is obvious in a way that he might as well be wearing an "I AM JULIANNE HOUGH'S CREEP HUSBAND" sticker on his shirt.
  17. Josh Duhamel is generically fixing things so that we know he is handy. This movie is Not Subtle. He keeps ordering things because his store has nothing except popcorn and wall almonds and small children selling paint swatches.
  18. Even Other Store Guy is all “when did we start selling paint?” Which like OK GUY but why do you have the damn swatch book?
  19. Cobie Smulders just showed up to walk with Julianne Hough and Julianne Hough is still a little nervous and weird as opposed to how I would be if Cobie Smulders wanted to walk with me which is YES COBIE BE MY BEST FRIEND THE MCU DID YOU DIRTY STUMPTOWN IS GREAT I LOVE YOU MARRY ME but then you know mileage varies.
  20. A police officer who is clearly Julianne Hough’s husband is looking for her using a photo that is only taken in grade school by Lifetouch, but sure fine.
  21. Julianne Hough has said maybe 20 words this whole movie but Josh Duhamel is in love with her. Also, she’s too weak and delicate to carry cans of paint. They are slicing through her precious baby hands made of paper and delicacy.
  22. Josh Duhamel is also giving her things like scrapers and paintbrushes because I don't think she realized she needed those things to paint.
  23. Now she is painting. Hotly.
  24. She and Cobie are going on walks. Hotly.
  25. Cobie has secrets. Hot ones. Probably.
  26. This whole movie is just a series of montages. Abused lady montages, Some Kind of Carolina montages, falling in love with Julianne Hough montages, painting a floor montages. Legit just montages.
  27. And khaki shorts. It’s also khaki shorts.


  28. "I don’t know this guy. He gave me a bike. He can f**k himself. I hope he dies in a fire screaming." - Julianne Hough in this movie
  29. "Clearly abused person GET OVER IT, the area below the Mason Dixon line is known for kindness." - Cobie Smulders in this movie
  30. *silence* - nonwhite people in this movie because no nonwhite people are in this movie.
  31. Josh Duhamel has a son who throws himself into the ocean, it’s a whole thing but not really.
  32. Josh Duhamel thanks Julianne Hough who did literally nothing but sure.
  33. Cobie Smulders is all “yas queen, ride that bike” and then disappears into the woods IN A WAY THAT IS PROBABLY FINE AND IN NO WAY A THING THAT COMES BACK LATER.
  34. Daughter is like JULIANNE HOUGH MUST GO TO THE BEACH WITH US and drowny son is like HEY F**K JULIANNE HOUGH. Josh Duhamel remains Duhamelly.
  35. They have a wonderful family beach day like a family and by that I mean Josh Duhamel keeps taking pictures and his son is all "SEE US WITHOUT THE LENS OF THE CAMERA, FATHER" like a John Mayer song and it's just a lot.
  36. Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough are HORNY AF. The movie shows this through sand-hands and sand-talks but the message here is THESE TWO ARE DOWN TO CLOWN AND READY TO MAKE NETHER SANDCASTLES.
  37. "Sandcastles in the Sand," Robin Sparkles’ best song, but Cobie Smulders is MERELY A MEANINGLESS SIDE CHARACTER SO WHY LISTEN? (Because it's a legit perfect song, that's why.)
  38. Josh Duhamel fell into the floor hole just like Julianne Hough did because this floor is a death trap. Angsty son hopes they both die in the floor hole.
  39. As does angsty OBVIOUS HUSBAND COP back home who is stalking neighbor lady who helped Julianne Hough escape/gave her the sink for her perfect hair.
  40. Julianne Hough killed a fish real good so Josh Duhamel brings it inside for family fish murder and it’s adorable.
  41. They ride on The Notebook canoe LIKE WE WON'T NOTICE.


  42. Then it just BECOMES THE NOTEBOOK.


  43. Then they go to a diner that is empty which seems creepy but they seem cool with it, anyway, THESE TWO WANT TO BANG.
  44. He literally picks her up and pushes her against a tree while making out while his friend is watching. LIKE. BRO. HOT. BUT. NO.
  45. I feel like movies have never found a way to depict child grief. Like in movies, grieving children are impediments. They are annoying. They are hurdles. They are villains. But… they're not? They’re tiny kids who lost their moms? ALWAYS MOMS? Oh, movies. You suck.
  46. OK, we are now seeing the VERY GOOD haircut in the hair sink and like GOD DANG she did a good job. Trauma and terror can't stop Jules Hough from giving good good hair.
  47. Except it makes her bad at escapes because she just left a voicemail with her neighbor ensuring neighbor’s caller ID knows where she is. ANYWAY, I AM SURE THIS WILL NOT IMPACT THE REST OF THE FILM.
  48. Cobie Smulders never goes into places AND I AM SURE THAT IS NOT A THING WE NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO.
  49. Josh and Julianne are now having that specific kind of movie sex where they just hug each other a bunch but don't move anything but arms. THEY ARE IN LOVE NOW. THAT IS LOVE. GENITALS ARE UNINVOLVED IN LOVE.
  50. Obvious Abusive Cop Ex-Husband has no eyebrows and that's how you know someone is bad news.
  51. OK SO. Josh Duhamel found Julianne Hough's picture on the wanted wall in the police station because she murdered her husband except she didn’t because he's alive and he put out the APB to find her because he’s an abusive piece of shit and that’s why she ran away and got the good haircut.
  52. Cop ex-husband’s boss is like DUDE WTF? YOU ARE DECIDEDLY NOT DEAD and cop ex-husband gets fired and then we finally get the flashback of the night shit went down and the flashback hits so hard present-day Julianne Hough falls off her bike. This movie is not handling domestic violence… well? At all? As a fun reveal? This movie is not very good. And neither is Julianne Hough's wig.
  53. But her wig is not reason enough for Josh Duhamel to be like HEY YOU LYING MURDER B*TCH rather than like "hey clearly abused woman what’s up?" But please remember A MAN WROTE THIS and men should not write stories like this because they make them FUN PLOT TWISTS. Anyway men are bad and should be put on pause until we figure out what's going on.
  54. Julianne Hough is way better than this movie lets her be. ALSO, KILL HIM AGAIN.
  55. Josh Duhamel remains useless. His dead wife WHO WE HAVE NOT YET MET CERTAINLY IN ANY WAY deserves better.
  56. Cobie Smulders is all "whoa whoa hey let's calm down about this murder husband" because this movie doesn't know how to write women. Also, Cobie Smulders is stuck here AND CANNOT LEAVE AND THERE IS NO REASON FOR THIS, CERTAINLY NOT ONE THAT WILL APPEAR IN THE END OF THE FILM.
  57. Also, Julianne Hough's house is a literal lol. I grew up going to New Salem, a preserved state park of Abraham Lincoln's village and her house looks exactly like that only without volunteers in bonnets playing the autoharp.
  58. So there was some cute kissing and love but BACK TO NIGHTMARE HUSBAND. He looks like an off-brand Tony Goldwyn from Ghost. But he's not. He’s The Cape from The Cape. I did not watch The Cape but Abed on Community did, so I almost care.
  59. ANYWAY AS FORETOLD, Garbage Abusive Husband found Julianne Hough via her voicemail to nice neighbor and now he’s on his way, bottle of vodka in hand. THINGS ARE GOING WELL.
  60. Drunk trash monster husband arrives in town and throws his Dasani full of vodka into a parade like a normal person. No one reacts. This is a whole town of "this is fine" dogs.
  61. Toddler baby child is running the store again. YOU KNOW. LIKE A FELONY. Tiny Lexi Child is so small and should not be dealing with drunk cop monster AND YET HERE WE ARE BECAUSE MEN WROTE THIS MOVIE.
  62. Cobie is watching Monster Husband stalk Jules and Josh and SHE WOULD HELP IF SHE COULD BUT SHE CANNOT FOR REASONS I AM SURE WILL PRESENT LATER.
  63. Cobie appears in Julianne's dream to tell her Monster Husband is here BECAUSE SHE IS A BLESSED SAVIOR but also TOO LATE because by "here" she means "LIKE FOUR FEET AWAY."
  64. Julianne and her khaki shorts are trying to save the day but NO ONE WILL LET HER because Monster Trash Garbage F**kface Husband A**hole just poured lighter fluid all over everything LIKE A REAL BUTTHOLE.
  65. This movie has taught me that if you are in a fire, and your dad is not a very hot parkourer, you're effed. Sorry 'bout it.
  66. Hi, it's me, your girl, Courtney, and this is the part where I cry a bunch so I'm gonna step away for a bit and do that, brb, NBD, don't worry about it, it's fine.

  67. Hi, I'm back and I just sobbed hysterically a bunch. ANYWAY. COBIE SMULDERS IS A SECRET GHOST. She's Josh Duhamel's dead wife who wants to make sure her family is OK and the next woman in their lives is OK and you know what I'm not? OK. THIS MOVIE IS BAD AND ITS DEPICTION OF THIS WOMAN'S AFTERLIFE IS LITERAL TORTURE, BUT COBIE SMULDERS IS WONDERFUL. WHERE IS THE KLEENEX.