Okay, firstly let me make this really clear - I never, NEVER prophesize to see a movie prior to reading the book. Ofcourse, if you have read the book, the movie just gets lamentable; it picks out the enigma and you are just there to point to the differences and the missing scenes; worst of all, you are stuck for a good 2 hours or so, just to see how the director's interpretation is so different from your own inference.
Still, the story that you read is way better than seeing it. In a movie, you are already presented with actor and actresses potraying different characters that seem to suit their persona. In a book, its just the character description on which you, the reader, decide how the character should be like. Often you are not able to map it to a real person and you don’t even see the eyes and nose falling in place, but you know how beautiful the eyes are. So I recommend that only if you cant sit and read and entire story, AT ALL, only then you should go for a movie. Otherwise, it always will be Daniel Radcliffe when you read the Harry Potter books!!
Moving on, I did violate my own rule and saw 'Safe Haven' again by Nicholas Spark, before reading the books. I just had to see COBIE SMULDERS in the movie! I totally love her in HIMYM and so I just had to!
Update : I got the book as soon as I could and I have started reading it too. And with just 20 pages read so far, I still can say that the book is much better!
S'well, the movie is about a girl Katie, who is shown running away from someone. She eventually gets off at a port where she likes whatever she sees and decides to stay there. It’s a very simple place, the kind where everyone knows the next person. She feels safe! Nonetheless, the nightmares of her previous life haunts her and it is revealed that she had murdered someone.
In the new town, she befriends Jo, who lives near her own cottage in the woods. Also, Katie is drawn towards Lexie, the daughter of Alex who owns a grocery store in town. Alex's wife died of cancer and histwo children - Josh (the elder one) and Katie, are trying to make the ends meet. Alex not only has to deal with the pain of loosing his wife, but after his mother's demise, Josh developed an anger for everything that would make them happy. He is inexorable to idea of letting in happiness into his life, and when his sister and father seem to be attracted to the new blonde girl in town, there is no soothing to his anger. You also see him trying things that are dangerous and could cause him potential harm if not death.
On the other hand, Lexie, who is still very young is not able to understand her loss and just wishes to happy again. She likes Katie and is willing to include Katie in her life. And Lexie is the major reason why Katie spends more and more time with Alex and his kids.
Eventually, she falls in love with him and his family. Meanwhile, Katie makes only one friend in the new city - Jo, who lives nearby. Jo doesn’t really do much but she shares the laughter as they come in Katie's life. She is the only person Katie talks to and enjoys spending time with.
Katie is later revealed to be Erin who is running away from her violent husband. She injured him one day and escaped. When Alex comes to know that, for a while he gets angry and leaves her… but then he realizes that he loves her and so welcomes her in his life. Just when Katie gets the hang of her own life, her husband reappears and being the nutcase he was, he burns the entire house when Alex is not home.
Katie saves the kids and Alex saves Katie. Her husband dies in the fire finally setting her free. Alex gives Katie a letter from his wife which she had written before dying. That letter reveals that Jo was Alex's wife. Katie realizes that there was no Jo and it was just a fragment of imagination or maybe it was Jo all along.
I have read a couple of Nicholas Sparks books and sees some movie adaptations as well but this is the book after 'The Wedding' that is very different from all other stories. Honestly speaking, no two Nicholas Sparks love story is the same but 'The Wedding' and 'Safe Haven' have been exceptionally different. They are not the usual love stories rather they aim at teaching what really 'love' is.
Even while browsing through the book, there is a line in Jo's letter - She knew love after she had her children. Its not that she didn’t love her husband but the love she felt for her kids was what really love is!
Yes, love so deep that Jo couldn’t leave even after her death. She had to make sure that her kids got their mom and Alex could feel what it is like to love again.
Today that I see around, love has only become some fancy vacations and a lot of photographs or gifts. But if you really love someone, all these things will matter no more. Like again in her letter, Jo tells that earlier she used to worry about a lot of things but now when her time is limited, all she does is look back to all the wonderful moments that she has spent with her husband, the moment she held her children for the first time and these moments were what made her life worth living.
Very honest, I may be one heck of a selfless person but the character of Jo, really won me over. Jo is the definition of love. I mean, even if I die, I wouldn’t let my family replace me. Reading Jo's letter or watching it unfold in the movie is the only thing worth the effort!
Coming to being a little mean - atleast in the movie I didn’t like Alex's character. It was there for no particular reason. I just hope that the book has a better Alex!!
And yes, I would really love if you read the book… but even the movie is good enough. Still - I am so pro-books ;)
Happy Reading :D