An incredible all-star cast delivers unforgettable performances in this "penetrating" (Time Out New York), "can't-take-your-eyes-off-the-screen drama" (Marie Claire) about a group of suburban families whose lives are myste... more »riously intertwined. As Esther (Glenn Close) struggles to remain the perfect mother in the wake of a tragedy, Annette (Patricia Clarkson) copes with toxic fallout from a nasty divorce. Meanwhile, Jim (Dermot Mulroney) goes off the deep end when he's passed overfor a promotion at work. But these very different people are bound together by more than their cookie-cutter homes and manicured lawns. In fact, an event from their past threatens to shatter their fragile lives unless they can find the strength to face itand each otherhead on.« less
Very strange movie that made sense at the very end...
3 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
Mark Twain | 04/12/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A delicious cast delivers terrific performances in this wonderfully upbeat and engrossing ensemble drama in which we quietly follow four neighboring suburban families in their overlapping journeys through loss and reconciliation. Although an ensemble effort, Glenn Close provides the emotional core of the film as Esther Gold, the mother of troubled teen Julie (Jessica Campbell) and comatose Paul (Joshua Jackson). Paul's story is told in flashback, and it ties together the film's characters. The neighbors face their own trials, as Jim Train (Dermot Mulroney) faces a career crisis and Annette Jennings (Patricia Clarkson) copes with serial abandonment. More families and sub-stories bubble up, including a disturbingly hilarious romance between a boy (Alex House) and his sister's Barbie doll. Like Robert Altman's "Short Cuts," which weaves together a selection of Raymond Carver stories, "The Safety of Objects" overlaps tales from A.M. Homes' short-story collection of the same name. "Objects" accomplishes the singular feat of adapting Homes' insular material while showcasing the director's own sense of intimacy and thematic structure. Director Rose Troche has crafted a gothic suburban tale about how life affects us all. She presents it with such confidence and care, that we love all of the characters, even if we don't like them.
The movie is unsettling because it refuses to view its characters from a reassuring, judgmental distance, allowing us to see what we normally wouldn't, and shouldn't. It makes for a shocking and emotional journey, with only the ending being disappointing."The Safety of Objects" is brilliantly acted, beautifully written, and powerfully directed. If conventional Hollywood garbage isn't your cup of tea, this film is highly recommended."
A BOOK ADAPTATION GONE AWRY...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 05/31/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"With a superlative ensemble cast giving note worthy performances, I expected this movie to be better than it actually was. Unfortunately, it was a sterile production, as none of the characters really grab the viewer emotionally. The normal rules of engagement seem to be lacking, leaving the viewer with the sense of having seen a shell of what was potentially a good film. Instead, the viewer gets a film with a few good hurrahs amidst a motley reel of celluloid. It is an ambitious film that does not see its ambitions realized.Adapted from a book of short stories by A. H. Holmes, the film attempts to weave these short stories into a collective, cohesive narrative. It is a strained effort, at best. It gives an ostensible slice of suburban angst through the stories of four middle class families, neighbors in a suburban community. All have some connection to a car accident that severely injured the son of one of these families, causing him to remain in a vegetative state. The film plods along, unraveling the accident in tortuous fashion as it takes the viewer to the final denouement. Some of the characters behave inexplicably without rhyme or reason as to why they would behave in such a fashion, leaving the viewer to wonder why. While the reasons may be of interest, there is not a clue as to such. It may simply be that the author's interrelated short stories simply did not adapt well to film, despite best efforts to make it into a cohesive entity.Yet, a pre-pubescent boy talks to his sister's Barbie doll, believing that they have some kind of relationship, and he believes that Barbie talks back to him. A man whose marital relationship is on the brink of disaster leaves his wife and family at a critical juncture in order to help a neighbor try to win an SUV contest at a local mall. Why they act in this fashion is the question. The answer is entirely shrouded and obscure, so that the viewer is left puzzled and grasping at straws, in the end not really caring at all why. So, despite excellent performances by the cast, the film is torpid at best, staying afloat simply because of the efforts of the cast not to go down with a sinking ship. The stories of the characters themselves simply cannot sustain the film sufficiently, despite the valiant efforts of the cast and the director. It is a somewhat depressing film that is unable to break away from its own inherent torpor. Still, it is worth a rental, if only for the fine performances of this stellar ensemble cast."
The Wonders of Women, Working
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE SAFETY OF OBJECTS is a superb film directed by Rose Troche from an correlative collection of stories by AM Homes and delivered with touching dignity by a cast of some of our best actresses - Glenn Close, Mary Kay Place, Patricia Carlson, Moira Kelley - and supported by actors including Dermot Mulroney and Joshua Jackson and Timothy Olyphant. Just as in her book by the same name, there are many stories happening simultaneously and in the film adaptation they all interrelate even more closely than the book suggested. This is the suburbia madness Homes knows so well - four familties living adajacently and bonded in various degrees by the near fatal auto accident of Paul Gold, a youth in his prime who touched the lives of more people than he knew. In the film he continues in a vegetative state, binding his caregiving mother (Close), offering food for longing for his secret lover (Clarkson), and providing a seemingly endless search for normalcy by the one in the accident who wasn't physically injured (Olyphant). Secrets, longings, and fantasies play strong roles in the lives of all of the characters who are very realistically written and acted and it is to Rose Troche's credit that she keeps us involved and guessing until the final frame. A very fine, very challenging piece of film making."
Squeezing the Cliche for All It Is Woth.
Kevin Currie-Knight | Newark, Delaware | 01/30/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"From the outset, I must say that this film is bizarre. I must also say that, despite the fact that I liked it enough to give it three stars, you have seen this film before. Where? It is the same type of suburban-angst-gone-haywire plot you've seen in such films as American Beauty. If that is your sort of film, then this is your sort of film. If that is not your cup of tea, then this will not be either.
The film is the story of 4 suburban families who have much more in common than first blush would tell you. All of them are somehow intertwined with a the fate of one of the families' comatose sons. (One character was in the car that injured him, another was the boys lover, etc.) It is the story, then, of how each family copes in different ways with that, and a host of other suburbanesque goings on, like being passed up for a promotion, dealing with the possible kidnapping of a daughter, or fumbling, as an adolescent, through one's first sexual feelings.
While the film, as I've said before, takes bizarre (and often unrealistic) twists and turns in the manner of American Beauty, "The Safety of Objects" has a strangely likeable quality. Like "American Beauty," the characters and story lines are just quirky enough to grab you without being so strange as to let you go. None of the characters are overtly lovable or dispicable, but all of them are at the very least, interesting and at most, compelling.
Be that as it may, though, the film is still a bit too cliche to be of any but moderate interest. Too many films - American Beauty, Short Cuts, The Good Girl, etc. - portray the same type of 'off-the-deep-end' suburban situations that this film does better, and more convincingly, than this film does it.
In fact, it is disappointing to find out that this film is based on a collection of short stories by author A.M. Holmes, because another film called "Short Cuts" is the same idea, only involving the stories of Raymond Carver. And just as Carver is a superior writer to Holmes, "Short Cuts" is heads-and-tails superior to "The Safety of Objects."
But if you like suburbia-gone-angry-and-awry films like "American Beauty," then this film is at least worth one viewing. After all, cliches are called cliches becuase they work at least well enough to be cliches."