The Safety of Objects

Critics Consensus

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

50%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 74

66%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,219
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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). Their son Jake has taken a morbid fascination with his sister's foot-high girl doll. At the same time, Paul's former lover Annette Jennings (Patricia Clarkson) is trying to pull her life and her family back together after a particularly brutal divorce. This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival.

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Cast

Glenn Close
as Esther Gold
Dermot Mulroney
as Jim Train
Jessica Campbell
as Julie Gold
Patricia Clarkson
as Annette Jennings
Joshua Jackson
as Paul Gold
Moira Kelly
as Susan Train
Robert Klein
as Howard Gold
Mary Kay Place
as Helen Christianson
Kristen Stewart
as Sam Jennings
Alex House
as Jake Train
Charlotte Arnold
as Sally Christianson
Andrew Airlie
as Bruce Jennings
Aaron Ashmore
as Bobby Christianson
C. David Johnson
as Wayne Christianson
Haylee Wanstall
as Rayanne Jennings
Carly Chalom
as Emily Train
Dwayne Hill
as Bill McArthur
Kathryn Winslow
as Catherine
Michael McMurtry
as Contest Winner/Frankie
Katie Griffin
as Female Contestant No. 1/Sue
Kristi Angus
as Z-100 Employee
Aaron Poole
as Z-100 Judge
Alex Poch-Goldin
as Male Contestant
Elisa Moolecherry
as Female Contestant No. 2
Derek McGrath
as Mr. Peabody
Domenic Cuzzocrea
as Appliance Salesman
Bill Lake
as Baseball Coach
Balazs Koos
as Sports Store Employee
Noam Jenkins
as Patrick Green
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Critic Reviews for The Safety of Objects

All Critics (74) | Top Critics (30)

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

    Aug 5, 2003 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Jamie Russell

    BBC.com
    Top Critic
  • A richly compelling movie that is as hard to forget as it is difficult to warm up to.

    Jun 6, 2003 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • It's a movie located in an interesting place, but without quite enough self-confidence really to inhabit it.

    Jun 6, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The sheer number and variety of miseries on view suggest a kind of wallowing.

    Apr 10, 2003 | Rating: 2/5
  • 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.

    Mar 14, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Vic Vogler

    Denver Post
    Top Critic
  • Troche ... seems to be tuned into Homes' writing, but without really knowing how to translate it to a cinematic narrative.

    Mar 14, 2003 | Rating: 2/4

Audience Reviews for The Safety of Objects

  • Jul 08, 2009
    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.
  • Dec 30, 2008
    This could have been darker and more indicting, but aside from the tedious opening, it had the creepy feel of any film which reveals the sordid realities that underlie quiet tree lined streets and white pciket fences. Novel though not entirely original plot structure.
    Pamela D Super Reviewer
  • Feb 29, 2008
    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!
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 09, 2007
    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.
    Megan S Super Reviewer

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