The Safety of Objects Rose Troche
Published May 01, 2003The Safety of Objects combines the feel of The Ice Storm and the form of Short Cuts to portray a community of neighbours in generic suburbia who are all weighed down by a recent loss and a general malaise that is eating away at them, slowly destroying their relationships.
Adapted from A.M. Holmes's short stories, the film intertwines the stories of four families. Ester Gold (Glenn Close) tries to hold it together while caring for her recently comatose son (Joshua Jackson) and dealing with her increasingly distant husband (Robert Klein), and her emotional teenage daughter (Jessica Campbell). Jim Train (Dermot Mulroney) looks for new meaning in his life after leaving his law practice, alienating his wife (Moira Kelly) and children. His son, Jake (Alex House), meanwhile is embroiled in an imaginary relationship with his sister's Barbie-esque doll. Annette Jennings (Patrica Clarkson) struggles with being a single mother of two, one of who has special needs, while her deadbeat ex-husband blames her for turning the kids against him. Helen Christianson (Mary Kay Place) experiments with ways to feel younger and more attractive, in the film's least developed storyline.
As the title suggests, The Safety of Objects looks at the various material items that the characters surround themselves with in order to insulate themselves from the pain in their lives. Inevitably, these objects fail them and they are forced to deal with themselves and each other. The film comes across at first as a fairly bleak look at marriage and family, but it is not entirely without hope. The incredible ensemble of actors create a series of characters who are compelling and sympathetic, and director Rose Troche (Go Fish) deftly crafts their stories to come together to end on a note of possible transcendence. (Alliance Atlantis)