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There’s something to be said for a well made genre pic.

Safe Haven occupies that new, specific sub-genre of romantic fiction – the Nicholas Sparks adaptation – and while it isn’t art, it does everything I would expect from a romantic melodrama.

safe haven

The thing I find fascinating about Nick Sparks films is that once upon a time they would have been called ‘women’s pictures’. They’re the kind of film that in the 1930s and 40s would have played at matinees for housewives, with an attractive ‘matinee idol’ being won over by a timid love interest. Likewise, the contemporary counterparts become vehicles for the likes of Channing Tatum, Zac Efron, and Josh Duhamel to show off the charms that a small town girl just can’t resist.

Those 30s and 40s films were seen as throwaway entertainment at the time, just as the Nick Sparks flick is now, yet time and critical reappraisal do wonderful things. Nowadays Letter from an Unknown Woman is (rightly) celebrated as a masterpiece, whilst books have been written on the cheap British pictures of the same period, largely made by the Gainsborough studio, often starring James Mason – I myself am quite fond of Madonna of the Seven Moons, a Gainsborough film full of fantasy and desire.

I find it unlikely that Safe Haven will in 60 or so years time become regarded as an outright classic, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable distraction, and joins a group of films which I think are interesting in terms of art and pop culture. I’m also pretty sure that one day I’ll casually watch one of these romantic flicks and it’ll be genuinely brilliant. And that’s why I love genre films.

Viewed at: Cineworld Wood Green

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