The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Endearing time travelling with only natural sweeteners

with 15 comments

safety not guaranteed stillIn food labelling, they always list the ingredients after how much there is of it in the product. (You might want to think twice before informing yourself. Do you really want to know that sugar is the second biggest ingredient in your favourite müsli?)

For some movies the genre declaration at IMDb works the same way, and this is the case of Safety Not Guaranteed. Comedy, romance and science fiction, in that order. But the science fiction part is small, just an added touch of flavour.

You might think there would have been more of it, considering it’s a movie about time-travelling. There’s this man who claims that he has built a machine that helps you go back in time. When he advertises for a partner to go with him, this catches the attention of a magazine, which decides to write an article about him. A team is sent out to hunt him down, convinced that he’s either a fraud or crazy. The main story is about the developments between one of the team members and the man with the time machine, but there are also a couple of unrelated side stories about what her co-workers are up to while she’s doing the tracking.

What the stories have in common is that all of them are about the necessity of taking a leap of faith once in a while in your life. With no leaps of faith, you won’t get laid, you can’t fall in love and you’ll never get to travel in time.

Natural sweeteners
I really loved this little film. It’s kind of sweet and endearing, but never overly so. I think they’ve only used natural sweeteners, no artificial ones. It’s yet another example of how good the writing means a great deal more for the end result than the size of the budget.

Sometimes movies about journeys in time can make your brain fry as you’re struggling to keep up with the timelines, as in the case of Primer, where I had no clue at all about what was going on. This movie is a lot easier in that aspect, but managed to give my mind at least a little bit of tickling, enough to make me wake up at 2.30 in the night with a snap: “wait here, so THAT’S what happened, of course!”

The insight made me giggle and I had to suppress an impulse to wake up my daughter who had watched it with me to share my findings. When I told her the next morning, she agreed on my conclusion about the movie, but even more on my decision to let her sleep.

The question is: did I? What if I had made a time machine…?

Safety Not Guaranteed (Colin Trevorrov, US 2012) My rating: 4/5

Written by Jessica

May 17, 2013 at 9:11 am

15 Responses

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  1. Ya know, I liked this movie too. In fact I’ve had a review written for a while. Need to get it up. Love your review. Those early AM snap revelations that jar you from your sleep happen here too! 🙂


    May 17, 2013 at 9:18 am

    • Thanks Keith! Looking forward to see your take on it. Isn’t it lovely how we can move between grand spectacles like Star Trek Into Darkness and low budget movies like this one and end up loving them just as much?


      May 17, 2013 at 9:29 am

  2. I liked the movie a lot. There are more movies with the science fiction background (Sound of My Voice and Another Earth for example), which are also worth checking out. The ad was actually really placed in a paper, so it’s cool that a movie was made based on the idea.


    May 17, 2013 at 9:45 am

  3. I enjoyed this film, but it didn’t quite click in the way I wanted it to. Many of the subplots were tied together by theme than by story.

    I enjoyed the comparison to natural sweetners. It rungs very true.


    May 17, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    • Well at least you gave it a try. I get happy every time a small budget movie like this ends up getting a lot of viewers.


      May 17, 2013 at 7:26 pm

  4. I’m right with you, Jessica. The sci-fi parts added an extra layer to a story that was mostly about getting to know the characters. This is a sweet little film that grabbed me a lot more than I expected.

    Dan Heaton

    May 17, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    • I’ve heard quite a few things about it, so I’ve been waiting to get the chance to see it. It never opened in theatres here, but went straight for DVD. As soon as I saw it in the rental shop, I went for it.


      May 17, 2013 at 7:26 pm

  5. I loved this movie as well, so I’m glad you did, too. In fact, it was my number 2 movie of 2012.

    By the way, the movie isn’t really based on a true story. Yes, there was an ad placed, but it was a joke from the beginning by a man who worked for the magazine and who had to fill space. He actually appears in the film as the older man who first goes to the post office box. He’s also credited as the “time travel consultant” in the film.

    Have you seen the film 11 Minutes Ago? It is more like Safety Not Guaranteed in that it focuses on people and not the mechanics of time travel. I reviewed both it and Safety Not Guaranteed as part of my Time Travel on a Budget category a few months back. If you are interested, you can find them here:

    Chip Lary

    May 17, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    • Thanks for further information about the background! That’s the good thing about blogging: you always run into people who know a lot more than you do. I haven’t seen or heard of 11 minutes ago, but time travelling on a budget is definitely something I approve of (I’ve previously raved about Timecrimes) so I should check that out.


      May 17, 2013 at 7:29 pm

      • Timecrimes is another of the films I recommended in that category, so I think you will like it.

        Chip Lary

        May 17, 2013 at 8:59 pm

  6. A great sci-fi, rom/com indie that caught me by surprise. I had only previously seen Plaza on Parks and Rec and thought she was great in this one. You know who really loved this film… my pregnant wife, she was a crying mess by the films conclusion.

    nice selection Jessica


    May 21, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    • Thank you! Glad to hear your wife loved it as well. I had a great time sharing it with my 18 year old daughter. It’s a movie that is safe to share with others.


      May 21, 2013 at 8:52 pm

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