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The Safety of Objects [Import]

Glenn Close , Dermot Mulroney , Rose Troche    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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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 mysteriously 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! May 17 2004
The Safety of Objects (Rose Troche, 2001)
The first thing you're going to notice about this brilliant, completely overlooked littke gem is the quality of the cast. I mean, we're talking major starpower here, and Troche blended them together to achieve something close to perfection. The story centers on four star-studded suburban families, a mysterious auto accident, and a contest that involves keeping your hand on a car longer than anyone else. Oh, and it was all written by the sick, twisted, brilliant novelist A. M. Homes. How could you possibly go wrong?
The Golds-- mother Esther (Glenn Close, giving a career-best Brandoesque performance),father Howard (Robert Klein), daughter Julie (Election's delicious chanteuse Jessica Campbell), and son Paul (Dawson's Creek alum Joshua Jackson)-- are the cornerstone of the piece. Paul was a victim of the car accident, and now spends his life in a coma. His mother dotes on him, his father can't bear to look at him, and his sister, well, she's a completely different story. Their next door neighbors are the Jennings. Mom (indie darling Patricia Clarkson, who is never less than great) is still perilously close to the edge a year after her husband (TV staple Andrew Airlie) left, raising a delinquent (Panic Room's Kristen Stewart) and a girl (Haylee Wanstall, recently found in Sugar) who is in some way mentally challenged; it's never said, but it looks like autism. Also involved are the Trains-- father Jim (Dermot Mulroney), mother Susan (Moira Kelly), and their two kids, and the Christensens, notably mom Helen (Mary Kay Place). All the moms want to sleep with the gardener (Timothy Olyphant). Okay, can you see the starpower radiating yet?
As with most of Homes' work, the idea here is that modern suburbia is weird. Very, very weird.
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I really wanted to like this film. I really did. The theatrical trailer looked promising, the ensemble cast of excellent actors excited me and the surreal quality of the cinematography was stunning. However, the film falls apart halfway through, but not for a lack of trying. All the actors give excellent performances and the direction was interesting. It was the story that was a bit thin. After the first hour the movie becomes a bit contrived and collapsed under its over ambitious weight. If I had to hear Paul's Song one more time, I swear I was going to pull out what little bit of hair I have left on my head. In its attempt to be another American Beauty-esque slice of suburban life, The Safety of Objects becomes a caricature of itself. Even though the acting is top notch it's hard to care about the characters in this incestuous (not in the true sense of the word) suburban neighborhood. Who cares that Annette was sleeping with Paul? Who cares about Jim's unexplained reason for helping Esther win a car? I quickly lost interest with the exception of the kid in love with his sister's Barbie doll. Well needed comic relief in an otherwise drab film. The only jaw dropping revelation I experienced was Esther's guilt inducing reason for keeping her comatose son alive. The Safety of Objects probably was better as a collection of short stories than one cohesive film. One of the review blurbs on the cover says "Comical!" and I agree although not in a good way. See this film for great performances from Glenn Close, Patricia Clarkson, Dermot Mulroney and the like but check out the Ice Storm, American Beauty or Magnolia for excellent examples of suburbia slice-of-life films in the intertwined multi-character plotline vein.
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2.0 out of 5 stars To confused to get emotional Jan. 25 2004
Im a sucker when it comes to emotionality in films and will often get teary during movies: Big Fish, Seabiscuit, etc. This movie was so confusing that instead of getting emotionally involved with any of the characters I found myself concentrating more on trying to figure out what was happening in the story. I felt that there were two really interesting parts in the movie, one where a young boy holds conversations with his sisters barbie doll but finds out that a real girl is much better and another scene where a young girl gets abducted. Overall not a very well done movie which was disappointing for me since there are some excellent actors in the movie. The book was probably much better since it didnt need to be condensed into such a short time frame.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing movie Jan. 23 2004
By Jake Z
I was really touched by this movie. I previously had read the great book by A.M. Homes in which this movie is based on, a collection of short stories called THE SAFETY OF OBJECTS. The movie is of the same name, and while not as good as the book, is still a great movie. The movie deepens the storyline as the plots interconnect and each person's actions have a direct effect to what happens in the movie. Basically, the movie is about 4 families living in suburbia, and they each have their own internal demons about a certain event. It's like a yarn ball, everything is tangled up and comes unraveled eventually. Top notch performances by Glenn Close, Jessica Campbell, Dermot Mulroney, Patricia Clarkson, and more. This was a really moving movie, it doesn't make sense at the beginning but once everything is explained, it's well worth the travel. Highly recommended.
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