Safe Passage

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: -1 1/2

Susan Sarandon and Sam Shepard give outstanding performances as Mag and Patrick Singer, parents of seven sons. Mag is a bit neurotic when it comes to her children's well-being. Patrick, on the other hand, is quiet and laid-back. The two grate on each other's nerves, and Mag has decided that after 25 years, it is her turn to pursue her dream of a career as a social worker. She is about to walk out, taking young Simon (Nick Stahl), the only child remaining at home. Her plans freeze, however, when her Marine son, Percival (Matt Keeslar), appears to be a victim of a terrorist's bomb in the Sinai Desert. One by one, the other five sons come home, along with Patrick, who has been sleeping at the office. While waiting anxiously for any news of Percival, the strengths and weaknesses of each family member become known. They all watch old family movies that trigger wonderful, funny memories. What began as a rather strained reunion, ends in a celebration of life. This honest portrayal of family life is a joy to watch, particularly for older teens and adults.

Mag is definitely not a conventional mother. Over protective, she disgraced one son when he was hurt in a football game by carrying him off the field in front of his classmates, and she helps Simon on his paper route every morning. When she catches the rebellious Percival smoking pot, she insists he quit. He tells her she wouldn't say that if she knew how good marijuana makes you feel. She joins him then, and immediately gets "high." It is not clear what the outcome was, except Percival respected her willingness to try to understand. When Mag is asked to describe herself on her job application, she can only write, "I am the mother of seven sons." She admits they are her life and she cannot imagine life without any of them. SAFE PASSAGE has one gratuitous, though brief, sex scene with one son and his girl friend who live together. That, plus some foul language earn the film its PG-13 rating. Not intended to be a guide for parenting, this story reminds us that every family member deserves recognition and respect for their uniqueness.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
NewLine Cinema, 575 8th Ave., 16th Flr, NY, NY 10018

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (4) times - Mild 3, Moderate 1

Obscene Language: Few (3) times (f-word 1, s-word 2)

Profanity: Several (6) times - Regular (G-d, JC) 3, Exclamatory 3

Violence: Twice - Moderate (vicious guard dog attempts to attack boy; mother wrestles with dog)

Sex: Once (unmarried couple, no nudity)

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few references to love making

Drugs: Few times (drinking beer and hard liquor; mother smokes pot with son)

Other: Family relationships resolved; belief in God expressed

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Older teenagers and adults

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