Happy Endings Preview: Safety Not Guaranteed

I usually keep a fairly close eye out for new movie releases, but Safety Not Guaranteed, this week’s screening in our “What’s So Wrong with Happy Endings” series, completely slipped my notice. And when a friend recommended that I watch the film after it was released on video, I viewed it with a slate that was almost entirely blank.

I wish I could be so pleasantly surprised more often.

The movie’s off-beat premise engaged me from the start: a magazine writer and two interns take up an assignment to investigate an anonymous classified ad:

WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED

To say too much more about where the plot goes from here would be to spoil the experience.

I will say, however, that I think the film speaks directly to a temptation nearly as old as humankind but that seems to border on an epidemic in our modern, Western culture: cynicism.    

C. S. Lewis once wrote tellingly (big surprise) about the kind of person that had become resigned to being disappointed by life. Describing “The Way of the Disillusioned ‘Sensible Man,’” Lewis noted that such a person, when faced with the reality that even good experiences never fully satisfy, “settles down and learns not to expect too much and represses the part of himself which used, as he would say, ‘to cry for the moon.’” (Mere Christianity)

My sense is that Lewis’ description applies to most of us to varying degrees, and sometimes understandably so. And by my way of thinking, Safety Not Guaranteed offers itself as a kind of antidote to this mentality. It reminds us, regardless of the efforts we make to repress such feelings, of just how much we long for our deeper hopes to be realized. And that, in turn, might raise a few questions about why we have such longings in the first place.

Sound like a stretch for a mostly under-the-radar indie comedy to fuel this kind of conversation? I’d invite you to see for yourself this Thursday night (7/18). Once again, here’s the important information:

  • Showtime is 6:00 p.m. at Ragtag Cinema (10 Hitt St.).
  • Admission is free. We’ve already given out our allotment of tickets, but you can still pick up tickets at the Ragtag box office beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday morning.
  • We ask that you arrive by 5:45 so we can determine how many seats we have available for those still waiting to attend. 
  • We’ll have a short discussion following the film.

Safety Not Guaranteed is rated R for language, including some sexual references. For more information on the film and its content, visit IMDb.com or kids-in-mind.com.)

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