Safelight full movie review - Sweet and Simple
There is no official indication that this is a movie set in some "retro" period, but I think it is. I'm not sure why. Perhaps to emphasize the physical and cultural isolation of the setting.
The clothes and cars seem old and there are no computers.
The two kids are outsiders for different reasons. But their status as outsiders brings them together. I don't think there was any narration until the last minute. That's always really awkward, although in this case the lines spoken by the narrator, who is obviously the male lead, are simple yet profound. He says that sometimes people come into your life who open up new perspectives or possibilities. Or something along those lines. That's really what the movie was about.
It's dark, so if you are prone to being depressed by dark films, you may want to avoid it. Yet it's different than the dystopian cynicism of a lot of mainstream films, reality shows, and comedy. Because there is "light" in it. The Christine Lahti character never lets the kid down. She is always there for him.
I did not understand the back story on the girl. They should have tried harder to make that clear. Did she get abused by a step dad? Of course the drives from the desert to the lighthouses made no geographical sense, but viewers outside California may not realize that. I suppose it's OK, because we sometimes allow for such things in order for a movie to get its' point across and entertain us. There are no lighthouses close by any deserts. You would have to travel a long, long way to find any on the coast. It wouldn't be a casual road trip either.
There is no explanation for how the boy became a gimp. I guess they didn't want to focus on that, since the limp was just a metaphor for being an outside or a pariah.
Although the conclusion was depressing and inevitable, they avoided showing gore by literally not filming it. There is no sex or hardcore violence in this picture. I really appreciated that.
The music is not much to speak of. There were a couple unmemorable indie tunes, but original. I am so glad they didn't use some clichéd soundtrack.
This is a slow moving character-driven piece that does not attempt to slam you over the head with a message. It's also a lot less cynical than the average modern indie.
I have no idea who the girl is. She was OK and the boy did an adequate job. He was supposed to be an innocent kid and he portrayed that adequately. Lahti was good, although her character was not an original one. The kind-hearted country western divorcée has been done before.