Safe Spaces (2019) Movie Review

Director: Daniel Schechter

Writer: Daniel Schechter (Screenplay)

Starring: Justin Long, Kate Berlant, Lynn Cohen, Michael Godere, Fran Drescher, Richard Schiff

Plot: An NYC professor spends a week re-connecting with his family while defending his reputation over controversial behavior at his college.


Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Safe Spaces starts as we meet the New York City creative writer professor Josh Cohn (Long) sees what looks like a positive class turn against him with the creative writing pushed one of the students the wrong way, outside of his work Josh is seeing his grandmother Agatha (Cohen) dying in a hospital, with his sister Jackie (Berlant) and brother David (Godere) visiting her daily.

Josh finds himself needing to face the reality of losing his closest family member and potentially losing his job that he has worked so hard for in an evolving world or political correctness.

Thoughts on Safe Spaces

Characters – Josh is a man in his mid-30s that has just got his dream entry level teaching job in creative writing, which looks like it is going well, until one lesson sees him offend a student causing him to try and understand what happened. His personal life isn’t going well either, with his sister needing his help, his older brother looking down on him, piling on the pressure to find something more on his life. Jackie is the sister that has turned to Josh for help after a break up with her boyfriend, she always turns to Josh for help, while still having her own problems with their father. Agatha is the grandmother that has been dying slowly in the hospital, she is still filled with plenty of positive attitude, but she knows deep down she doesn’t have much time left. David is the older brother, he has settled down starting his own family and usually takes on the more serious details of dealing with their grandmother. We do meet other family members that Josh needs to fix his relationships with or being the connection for other members that are feeling out of place. The students are the hardest part to get behind, because they are so opinionated nothing anyone does seems to be right anymore for the professor.

PerformancesJustin Long is great in the leading role, showing his nice guy persona, which will have a defensive side that will show how he doesn’t always understand how he could be wrong. Kate Berlant is strong in the supporting role, along with the whole cast that is easy to watch through the film.

StoryThe story here shows how a creative writer professor sees his career start to spiral out of control when is involved in a comment in class, while outside the college, he is having his own personal life problems, with his grandmother dying in hospital and the family not being as connected as he would hope. This is story that does show us how somebody might not know everything about someone else’s personal life, which will cause them problems that might offend, with it being reflected on how Josh is having his own problems. We do go to the extremes of what might be seen as the problems, which apart from the first person who is against the comment, the students seem like they are to opinionated about the world they know nothing about.

ComedyThe comedy in the film focuses on the life of Josh, which will have you laughing more at how extra the conversations end up being.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which shows us just how many different stories you might not know about people.


Scene of the Movie – The family together in the hospital.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Some of the students are unbearable.

Final Thoughts Safe Spaces shows how people will never know the problems in people’s lives, with Justin Long shining through the film.


Safe Spaces will be available on Digital Download from 7th December

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