Starring: Glenn Close, Patricia Clarkson, Dermot Mulroney, Joshua Jackson, Moira Kelly, Robert Klein, Timothy Olyphant, Jessica Campbell, Kristen Stewart, Mary Kay Place
Directing: Rose Troche
Rating: R (MPAA)
Run Time: 120 minutes
In a quiet suburb, Paul Gold (Joshua Jackson) lies in a coma. His mother, Esther (Glenn Close), dutifully cares for him, growing ever distant from her husband and her teenage daughter, Julie (Jessica Campbell). Julie enters Esther in a contest of endurance as a means of bringing them closer together. Unbeknownst to his wife, the Gold's neighbor, Jim Train (Dermot Mulroney), has quit his job without telling his wife. Needing a purpose, he becomes Esther's cheerleader. Meanwhile, the Trains' neighbor, Helen (Mary Kay Place), tries various products in hopes that they will keep her youthful while her friend Annette (Patricia Clarkson)—who was involved with Paul—weathers a messy divorce and raises two kids. At the same time, Paul's bandmate, handyman Randy (Timothy Olyphant), deals with personal loss in his own self-destructive way.
Director Rose Troche has skillfully taken the characters from several stories by A.M. Homes (from the book of the same title) and condensed them into one universe, allowing them to interact with each other. Taking a detour from the usual independent film route of ridiculing suburbia, Troche treats the characters with respect, even when their behavior is reprehensible or their actions take the film into the realm of the darkly comic. Universally solid performances, especially from Close and Mulroney, emphasize the point that, contrary to popular belief, suburbia is not always lacking heart and soul.
New York Times (03/07/2003)
"...[Troche] assembles the damaged human elements of Ms. Homes's world with patience and precision..."
Entertainment Weekly (03/14/2003)
"...The casting is inspired....The cast of kids too is impressive, especially Kristen Stewart..."
Sight and Sound (09/01/2003)
"...There's a deadpan surrealism to the storytelling....Relatively fresh..."
Movieline's Hollywood Life (11/01/2003)
"...THE SAFETY OF OBJECTS does what indies are supposed to do—dare to defy our expectations and mix up our preliminary judgments..."