The one thing I like about this movie is that it looks at loneliness from four different people. Each person definitely has some underlying loneliness theme in their life (whether they admit to it or not) and throughout the movie their theme's get played out in very illuminating ways. While each of the four stories unfold, each of the main characters also interact with one another and the intertwining of stories from each of the four characters also leads to some interesting insights into loneliness as well. The four different characters are:
- Darius - The movie opens with Darius and shows a very stereotypical view of what a lonely person would look like. You can see her getting excluded from social circles, difficulty establishing connections, and at one point her father wants to know why she hasn't had sex as yet.
- Kenneth - Is the author of the classified ad in the trailer. (For those of you who did not watch the trailer) Kenneth put out a classified ad that said that he was looking for a partner to time travel with. They must provide their own weapons, their safety isn't guaranteed, and that he has done it once before. Throughout the movie, there is a delicate balance that is maintain about whether Kenneth is really a deluded person, or if in fact he knows exactly what he is doing. It's only at the end does the movie satisfactorily provide an answer. The reason why Kenneth is looking for a partner taps right into his own loneliness and isolation.
- Jeff - Is the news reporter who gets two interns (Darius and Arnau) to go with him to investigate the ad and write a story. Jeff is not presented as your stereotypical loner. Jeff has a very outgoing, friendly, salesman type personality. He seems to have no problem with hooking up with women or skirting the rules when need be. In fact, I would argue, if you were to ask Jeff if he were lonely, he would probably deny it. But as his story unfolds in the movie, there becomes a clear realization to Jeff that the intimacy he longs for has been missing in his life.
- Arnau - the last character and whose story line is not as pronounced as the others. Arnau is presented as the typical nerd, complete with pictures of flames on his computer, because his computer is fast. He is very much in his shell for most of the movie, but throughout shines through his shell to provide one-sentence pieces of advice that prove to be remarkably insightful. The reason behind his self-created shell strikes at the heart of loneliness for most folks.
Besides the individual story line, there are definitely strong intersections between Darius and Kenneth and also between Jeff and Arnau. It provides an interesting message that while we may be wounded ourselves, we are still capable of helping others, and perhaps through the process, helping ourselves. The title, aptly named, Safety Not Guaranteed, I believe reflects on the fact that when navigating through waters of loneliness and intimacy, there is no guaranteed safety. You'll have to take a chance, and sometimes that chance can have a big payoff.