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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Safe Harbour (review)

Who knew that finding “the courage to love again” could be so damn boring? Underbaked and overthought, this tepid romantic drama, based on a bestselling Danielle Steel novel, never shuts up about how damaged its characters are, but it can only demonstrate that world of hurt and pain via a lot of stolid moping and declarations that so-and-so is “going to lie down for a while.” Get the smelling salts… for me. Melissa Gilbert puts on a terrible French accent as an ex-pat in Northern California mourning her husband and teenage son, recently killed in an accident, and neglecting her surviving 11-year-old daughter (Liana Liberato), who’s considerate enough nevertheless to find her a new man in a lonely artist (Brad Johnson). He’s perfect: handsome, gentle, and suffering from his own heartbreak that needs mending. But even his ridiculous flawlessness, which would have been enough on its own to reduce this direct-to-DVD movie to sentimental twaddle, is bested by not one, not two, but three absurdly melodramatic turns in the final act. I don’t know about the courage to love, but it doesn’t take much courage to laugh at this. The DVD features an introduction from Steele and both widescreen and full-screen versions of the film, but no other bonus material. [buy at Amazon]

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MPAA: rated PG-13 for sexual content, a scene of violence and some thematic material

viewed at home on a small screen

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