Safety of Objects [2001]

A gorgeous collage of human details, The Safety of Objects intertwines the stories of four families living as neighbors in a pleasant suburb, all of them grappling in various ways with the aftermath of a car accident that left a teenager in a coma. That may sound histrionic, but the movie is carefully composed of little things, some ordinary--a lawyer uproots his wife's flowers because he mistakes them for weeds--and some absurd--a boy fantasizes about having a relationship with his sister's doll. But all of it, absurd or not, has some core of emotion. As the title suggests, the characters seek solace in the inanimate, things that can't betray, abandon, or truly need them. The outstanding ensemble cast includes Glenn Close, Dermot Mulroney, Patricia Clarkson, Mary Kay Place, Jessica Campbell (Election), and Kristen Stewart (Panic Room), among others; all fit together into a deeply felt whole. --Bret Fetzer

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