I love it when a film gets it right. You walk out feeling happy and satisfied. Safety Not Guaranteed is that kind of movie. Absolutely wonderful! It is a creative, funny, tender, and romantic sci-fi story. It is also proof that ingenuity and wit still exists and those qualities can be made into a smart film. Thank goodness!
Much of the credit has to go to writer Derek Connolly and his unique twist of familiar concepts. We may have seen some of the themes before, but Connolly presents everything in a fresh new way. The dialogue is natural, funny and believable. While director Colin Trevorrow does a fine job, his style is pretty straight forward and uncomplicated. The awesomeness here is all because of the screenplay (it won the Sundance 2012 Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award) and the actors.
The cast is pitch perfect. There are no weak links. Aubrey Plaza, at first seems to be channeling her Parks and Rec character April, but she proceeds to blossom before your eyes and her Darius becomes a unique strong woman. Mark Duplass is the stand out as the mysterious, possibly crazy time-traveler Kenneth. I know Duplass from one of my favorite TV shows, The League, and was blown away by the depth and humor he infused into his character. (A quick side note is that I was unaware that Mark is the other brother in the Duplass Brothers Productions company that wrote and directed one of my favorite films of 2011 Cyrus! Super talented. Nice.) Jake M. Johnson as the magazine writer, Jeff, is also memorable. Johnson actually makes you care for, what normally would be, an unlikable guy. And lastly, Karan Soni as the geeky intern Arnau is great, especially since he plays it low-key and quiet and it works.
The narrative may be simple, but the layers added are brilliant. This is a story about time travel, yet it is also about living in the present. There are multiple facets of the same theme being explored–can you change the past? Relive it? Learn from it? It was clever and never forced. Mostly, it was hilarious! Very, very funny lines were thrown around and some aimed towards geeky sci-fi nerds, so it was right up my alley.
As an independent film, Safety Not Guaranteed may not be easy to find in your town, but if it is showing–travel whatever distance and make this a must see. I hope you will love the honest, funny and refreshing approach and walk out just as happy and satisfied as I did.
- Review: ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ is funny and touching (cnn.com)
- Why Safety Not Guaranteed Is a Must-See Date Movie for Sci-Fi Nerds (wired.com)
- Review: Safety Not Guaranteed (houseofgeekery.com)