“The Safety of Objects” is an emotionally-charged film that explores the relationships within and surrounding four different families. When Esther Gold’s (Glenn Close, “Fatal Attraction”) son Paul (Joshua Jackson, “The Skulls”) is left brain dead and on life support after a tragic accident, time seems to stop for the film’s characters, only to start again when he is finally able to be put to rest.
Each of the four families is dysfunctional in their own way, whether by divorce, injury or neglect. As their lives begin to unravel, all of the main characters are forced to face their own shortcomings and choose whether to move forward or remain, to release their inner demons or hold on to them.
The film’s title stems from this fact that there is a sort of comfort in holding onto certain objects. These physical crutches that can jade one’s view of reality and give the illusion of safety seem to range from a plastic doll, to a guitar, to even another human being. With Esther being the ultimate symbol for this idea, entering a contest to win a car where she must remain touching the car for the longest without letting go, we are able to see her total breakdown as representative of the world existing around her.
“The Safety of Objects” has its moments visually, but the film is mostly enriched by its many great performances. While some of the players may have more screen time than others, each actor’s part is essential and performed with the utmost sincerity.
Along with Close’s Esther, Dermot Mulroney’s (“My Best Friend’s Wedding”) portrayal of Jim Train breathes new life into the otherwise stereotypical neglectful husband who has been consumed by his job. His search for meaning leads him to and binds him with Esther, allowing for his rediscovery of the love and importance of his own family.
From its haunting, yet evocative title sequence to the way in which director Rose Troche chooses to weave portions of Paul’s accident throughout the film – never revealing the entire sequence until the end – “The Safety of Objects” is a film that brings with it an emphasis on acting and not editing. Not to say that the film is shot with many long takes (despite the fact that it does drag at a few moments), but the lens of Troche’s camera does act as a type of capturing device that merely records what becomes a deeply specific reality in suburbia.
Rating: 3 Stars.