Safe Passage [1994]

This family drama, based on a novel by Ellyn Bache, is overly familiar in its concentration of cracked secrets and family revelations all pouring down during a brief crisis. But it has a fine cast led by Susan Sarandon, and they make the whole enterprise a watchable affair. Sarandon plays a middle-aged mother of a brood of mostly grown sons. Suffering from empty-nest syndrome, she tends toward anxious dreams in which one or another of the boys is missing overseas. After having a nightmare that one--a Marine assigned to a Sinai peacekeeping force--has been hurt, word comes that a terrorist attack has indeed left his status in question. As the rest of the family gathers in the glare of fear--including Sarandon's estranged husband (Sam Shepard), suffering some form of (metaphorical) blindness--lots of unspoken things are said about old rivalries, ancient grievances, etc. It's all a bit thickly designed, but the likes of Robert Sean Leonard, Sean Astin, Marcia Gay Harden, Nick Stahl, and most of all Sarandon make it entirely palatable. --Tom Keogh

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