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The Safety of Objects (2001)



Average Rating: 5.9/10
Reviews Counted: 74
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 38

The large cast of characters and scripting are too unwieldy, and the suburban angst theme feels tired.


Average Rating: 5.6/10
Critic Reviews: 29
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 16

The large cast of characters and scripting are too unwieldy, and the suburban angst theme feels tired.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 4,172

My Rating

Movie Info

Following up on her 1998 opus Bedrooms and Hallways, Rose Troche directs this ensemble film about suburbia and its discontents. Once an up-and-coming singer/songwriter, Paul Gold (Joshua Jackson) now lies in a coma, attentively nursed by his mother Esther (Glenn Close), who dotes on her son to the exclusion of her husband and her daughter Julie (Jessica Campbell). Meanwhile, Jim Train (Dermot Mulroney) is a workaholic lawyer who is closer to his tortes than to his spouse Susan (Moira Kelly).


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Rose Troche

Oct 14, 2003


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All Critics (84) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (38) | DVD (5)

A richly compelling movie that is as hard to forget as it is difficult to warm up to.

June 6, 2003 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a movie located in an interesting place, but without quite enough self-confidence really to inhabit it.

June 6, 2003 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
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The sheer number and variety of miseries on view suggest a kind of wallowing.

April 10, 2003
Orlando Sentinel
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In boldly departing from the safety of a strong, unifying plot, Troche makes virtual objects of her characters by showing us plenty that intrigues and not enough that enlightens.

March 14, 2003 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
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Troche ... seems to be tuned into Homes' writing, but without really knowing how to translate it to a cinematic narrative.

March 14, 2003
Detroit Free Press
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A deftly made and poignant character study that deals with life's heartaches and its tender mercies.

March 13, 2003 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
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mechanical film school exercise

February 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

Though well-acted, Troche's third film, an adaptation of short stories, is a minor addition of a fractured, ensemble narrative to the overly populated genre of suburban malaise and anomie in the wake of the success of Mendes' Oscar-winner American Beauty

July 17, 2008 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Four neighboring families, seven stories, one secret - one great movie.

October 19, 2004 Full Review Source:

Troche has created a truly moving film, upsetting and uplifting in equal measure.

August 5, 2003 Full Review Source:

...there's a lot worth recommending about the film.

August 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Simply put, there's too much going on, and too many fragile, damaged characters to fret appropriately over.

July 8, 2003 Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY

The time required to introduce more than a dozen major characters eats into the two-hour film, leaving precious few minutes for development.

June 6, 2003 Full Review Source: National Post
National Post

A fairly deft sewing job of short stories by A.M. Homes.

June 6, 2003 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

The effectiveness of The Safety of Objects and all such 'burb-angst weepies comes down to how far viewers will go toward feeling empathetic, or even sympathetic, rather than resentful toward such self-absorbed and self-loathing characters.

April 3, 2003
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

One compelling story intertwined gracelessly with countless others ranging from mediocre to unspeakably idiotic.

March 20, 2003
Film Blather

Great for dissecting the American dream, but for pure movie entertainment, look somewhere else

March 19, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

It offers a meaningful lesson in putting people first -- ones that surround us, shelter us emotionally, and sometimes come to define us.

March 14, 2003 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

A graceful example of what movies can do so much better than other art forms: explore the nuances of human behavior.

March 14, 2003 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

After a slow start in which the complexities of person and plot take an age to get established, the film catches real emotional fire in some most unexpected places.

March 14, 2003 Full Review Source: Dallas Observer
Dallas Observer

Each one of these characters experiences an incredibly healing moment and you want to celebrate with them, laugh with them, cry with them - they moved me.

March 14, 2003 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for The Safety of Objects

Saw this sometime ago and really enjoyed it, so was glad to see it going really cheap on Amazon.
The rewatch was just as good. Great cast including a very young Kristen Stewart. I liked how the stories about the three sets of neighbours all wound together. Though it is a drama, there is some black humor there as well. The Barbie doll in particular made me laugh. Very realistic with that hair - kind of creepy actually!
May 14, 2011

Super Reviewer

What an odd movie.. I liked it and I really don't know why.. these neighbors are as screwed up as the next.. they are like one big disfunctioal family living in different house's on one street.. but yet this film is very sad too.. theres just so much going on.. its just something you need to watch for yourself to understand.. I loved it.
October 1, 2009

Super Reviewer

So I bought this movie as an impulse buy at hollywood video for $5. it was actually really good. and the way that they did the opening credits was really creative and wonderful. they had four different houses and little people on tracks came out of each house to represent the different members of each of the four families. plus the symbolism about the stoicness of the little plastic people on the repetitive tracks in and out of the houses was good. even though the summary says that they are all having different problems they all stem from one car accident that connects them all together. and each main character is obsessed with an "object," whether it be a car, a job, a doll, or unfortunately, a comatose son. so it was about people finding solace in these objects and then realizing that they have to come to terms with reality and let things go. and there are a lot of other things going on as well.
February 15, 2007

Super Reviewer

    1. Esther Gold: [thinking] How did I get here? Somewhere along the way, things have gotten out of hand. I don't know how. I tried to do things right, but...maybe that's the problem. Maybe there is no right or wrong. We're ruled by chaos. That would make more sense. That there are no rewards, no punishments. Life isn't a series of results of things done right or wrong. It's all just random. Those are the rules. There are no rules.
    – Submitted by Samira O (21 months ago)
    1. Randy: When you start collecting things, you start thinking you care about stuff. And when they're gone; when they break or someone steals them, you feel like a part of you is gone, too. When you have things and suddenly you don't, it feels like you disappeared. Nothing should make you feel that way... Except when you lose a person.
    – Submitted by Samira O (21 months ago)
    1. Esther Gold: If you are ever in a praying situation with Him: Be Specific! Include certain clauses. It's not enough to assume that if a person lives they'll be okay... Cause God has a wicked sense of humor. And even though he knows you mean more, he'll only give you exactly what you ask for.
    – Submitted by Samira O (21 months ago)
    1. Sam Jennings: [to Randy] You know, uhm... When my mom and dad were first getting divorced, I would always pretend not to hear my dad call up to me to say good-bye. 'Cause I always thought he'd stay longer. If... he couldn't actually say it to me, you know? Maybe it's like that for you. Bye.
    – Submitted by Samira O (21 months ago)
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