Newest Reviews
1 chance sur 2
Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo
Yin Yang Master, The
Hail, Mafia!
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Strange House, The
Morfalous, Les
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Funeral, The
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Safe Spaces Open To Question
Year: 2019
Director: Daniel Schechter
Stars: Justin Long, Kate Berlant, Lynn Cohen, Michael Godere, Fran Drescher, Richard Schiff, Silvia Morigi, Becky Ann Baker, Samrat Chakrabarti, Nic Inglese, Camrus Johnson, Schann Mobley, Michael Hsu Rosen, Emily Ferguson, Dana Eskelson, Glo Tavarez
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Josh Cohn (Justin Long) is an adjunct professor at a New York university, tutoring in creative writing, and his big lesson for the discipline is to be as honest as possible: take inspiration from your real life, no matter how embarrassing, and you will never go wrong. To that end, he encourages one student to open up about one of her stories, which turns out to have an awkward sexual encounter that inspired it, something she shares with the class at Josh's insistence. In the spirit of honesty, nobody appears to be too bothered, and treats it with humour, but what he doesn't know is that one of the students feels deeply uncomfortable about it - and complains.

Honesty is the best policy, we're often told, but perhaps overshare is not, would possibly be the message imparted in Safe Spaces (also known as After Class), but there was a lot to unpick in writer and director Daniel Schechter's comedy drama, not least a whole second plot about Josh's family trying to cope with the impending death of his grandmother (Lynn Cohen). If this could have been an unruly collision of two separate storylines when really Schechter should have concentrated on one or the other, it didn't come across as that so much, since the chaotic nature of its protagonist's life was fairly well served by having him suffer two crises simultaneously.

Really, what this was telling you was that now, in these days of dedicated self-expression and presenting an online persona, everyone wants to be heard, and a lot of people think they have more right to be heard than others, which will only create conflict, anger and ultimately, discord. Josh thought he was helping that self-expression along as a good thing, but what if he has gone too far? Does the aggrieved student have a point? You could argue that even if she was not an abuse survivor, which she is, she did not need to hear sexually explicit confessions while in class, there is a time and a place for that and Josh's decision-making looks suspect if he was convinced he was doing right.

Then again, have people just become too sensitive? Not to others' feelings, but their own, roping in those others to have surrogate emotions to bolster their self-worth as compassionate? Just because you're a white, straight male who feels like he should be sticking up for the non-white, non-straight and non-male in the world, does this mean you have a better right to do so as an advocate for them when they can more easily tell their stories themselves? Should every item of fiction include as many different types of person as can be fit into a narrative so that nobody feels left out, or is this merely cynical marketing that assumes nobody can understand or relate to a medium if there's no one in it who resembles them closely? Isn't that patronising at best and closing off empathy at worst? Is that what Josh, who has his privileges, is really guilty of?

Actually, Schechter threw so much at the wall of social justice that not everything stuck, and often it seemed he had neglected the comedy aspect in favour of provocation. That said, it was very well acted, the cast given plenty to get their teeth into, and we can recognise Josh is not a villain because he gets inappropriate at times: that can be his sense of humour, and that can backfire. What appeared to be an attack on the Millennials was more subtle than that, despite one of the takeaways being that nobody owns the libs quite as well as the libs themselves. There was genuine worry here, that a generation taught to take care of those they share the planet with had actually been taught to turn aggressively on anyone who failed to conform, be that in reactionary or accidental style, and apologies would only sound ever more hollow the further this went on. If Grandma's backstory of fleeing the Nazis was overdoing it, it was a point that should something as cataclysmic as a World War happen again, the mass hatred was certainly there to stoke it. In many ways, a troubling film, even if it was very funny in places: lessons, no matter what we were told, had not been learned. Music by Aaron Esposito (fine use of brass bands).

[Safe Spaces will be available on Digital Download from 7th December 2020.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1003 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith


Last Updated: