The Safety of Objects

User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 2 out of 13
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  1. BrianR.
    May 22, 2003
    10
    An outstanding movie. Smartly written. Very funny and keenly observant. Thumbs way up!!
  2. KarenL.
    Apr 13, 2003
    9
    One of the best films this year!!!
  3. ChadS.
    Aug 5, 2004
    8
    Writer/director Rose Troche's "Go Fish" first made me conscious of a formal cinema for gays and lesbians. "The Safety of Objects", however, tells the stories of white suburban heterosexuals, and to my surprise, nobody comes out of the closet, unlike Lisa Cholodenko's "Laurel Canyon", when Alex(Kate Beckinsale) unexpectedly kisses Jane(Frances McDormand) in the pool. Working from Writer/director Rose Troche's "Go Fish" first made me conscious of a formal cinema for gays and lesbians. "The Safety of Objects", however, tells the stories of white suburban heterosexuals, and to my surprise, nobody comes out of the closet, unlike Lisa Cholodenko's "Laurel Canyon", when Alex(Kate Beckinsale) unexpectedly kisses Jane(Frances McDormand) in the pool. Working from a short story collection by A.M. Homes, Troche can no longer be pigeonholed as a talented director from the "queer cinema" sector; she's just talented, period. If Troche scaled back on Helen(Mary Kay Place)'s misadventures in almost adultery, "The Safety of Objects" would've been a more focused piece of filmmaking. Troche could've sketched her in a few, broad strokes like Howard(Robert Klein), who we understand without any deep delving. Another misstep is the confusing relationship between Randy(Timothy Olyphant) and Sam(Kristen Stewart), which suggests that Randy harbored an attraction for his deceased younger brother. But that can't be right. Troche could've been a little clearer. To offset these minor flaws, Troche does a brilliant job with Jake's scary crush, and the crossed spiritual paths of Esther(Glenn Close) and Jim(Dermot Mulroney). Close is very good, but Patricia Clarkson is incandescent. And if we're going to toss out influences, it begins with Atom Egoyan's "Exotica". In both films, the final piece that ties everything together takes place in a car. Expand
  4. StephenS.
    Aug 14, 2003
    8
    Comparisons with the suburbia of ?Short Cuts? and ?American Beauty? are inevitable, but I thought I saw more signs of the Todd Solondz or Hal Hartley movie chic. Rose Troche delivers her best film yet. She is technically assured, takes risks, works the cast, and shows emotional rigour. The similarity with ?Short Cuts? is superficial. Sure, we flip continually between the several suburban Comparisons with the suburbia of ?Short Cuts? and ?American Beauty? are inevitable, but I thought I saw more signs of the Todd Solondz or Hal Hartley movie chic. Rose Troche delivers her best film yet. She is technically assured, takes risks, works the cast, and shows emotional rigour. The similarity with ?Short Cuts? is superficial. Sure, we flip continually between the several suburban stories, but these mini-stories are really linked and united, more conventionally than the styling suggests. They revolve around the deepest emotional cut, Esther Gold?s (Glenn Close) resolve to deal with the trauma of her comatose son Paul. I?ve never liked Close this much, in fact never liked her at all. But she finds the right nuances here. Dermot Mulroney makes out as the distracted lawyer on time out from job and marriage, aiding Esther?s bid to win a car in a sadistic shopping mall contest. Jessica Campbell is disciplined in her performance as Esther?s daughter, decidedly unimpressed by mum?s attention to the living dead. Kristen Stewart performs with a wisdom beyond her age, as the temporarily abducted young daughter of Esther?s neighbour. Chance and consumerism almost wreck community, but there is a kind of silver lining to it all. Don?t mind, because Troche has earned the right to exact a few tears at the end. If you want to be picky, the flashback scenes for the pre-accident version of Paul are not delineated clearly against the multiple jump-cuts of the present-time stories. If you?re watching this late at night, it might take a while to figure out what?s going on. Expand
Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 29
  2. Negative: 3 out of 29
  1. The result is not a quilt, just a succession of story snippets that keep interrupting one another.
  2. Outside of its star power, it reeks of indie film and doesn't hold much mainstream steam.
  3. 50
    Although deft editing provides neat segues, "Safety" suffers from a case of too many dramas, too little time. Characters are given no chance to develop and, too often, their behavior turns on a dime, hurtling off into a parallel universe of extreme acts.