In new flick "Safety Not Guaranteed," time travel ends up acting as a metaphor for love.
In Safety Not Guaranteed, two interns at Seattle Magazine, Darius (Aubrey Plaza) and Arnau (Karan Soni), accompany their boss Jeff (Jake Johnson) on assignment to find a mysterious would-be time traveler in rural Washington state. The traveler, a small-town guy named Kenneth (Mark Duplass) has posted a classified ad looking for an able time-traveling partner who will have to bring his or her own weapons. Safety, as you can imagine, is not guaranteed, according to the ad. The guy also claims he's successfully time-traveled once before. Everyone wonders just how crazy Kenneth is, and they're mostly in it for the story. The recently-graduated Darius, however, seems to crave adventure more than anything. She offers to win Kenneth over and report the scoop back to Jeff.
Amanda: I think this entire movie is a metaphor for love. Really, is answering an ad about time traveling that different from answering a message on a dating site or chatting with a stranger at a bar and wondering if you should give him your number? I think not.
Natalie: True, the same sense of "What if..." is involved. The magazine writers make an interesting trio: The douchy, over-the-hill boss, the dorky 22-year-old virgin, and Darius ... a very Aubrey Plaza character. As usual, Plaza plays an unconventionally hot, sullen indie chick with a not-so-well-hidden romantic streak. Do you think she's in it to find love from the beginning?
A: I don't think Darius is looking for love when she volunteers to assist with the story. I think she wanted something more interesting to do than menial office errands, and somehow feels like she'd identify with this strange time-traveler. She's never quite fit in, and she thinks about it a lot. Really, she's a mix of the people she travels with. She's got this pretty and sardonic outer shell, like Jeff, but inside she's probably as insecure and inexperienced as Arnau.
Jeff, on the other hand, is looking for a hook-up, not love. He recently found out that a former flame from high school lives in the small town where the time traveler is. He pitched the story so he'd have an excuse to visit. That's an interesting side plot.
Darius and Kenneth start opening up to each other. He tests her trustworthiness a lot. He asks her reason for wanting to travel back in time, but he won't share his at first. He eventually reveals that it's about an ex-girlfriend. Did that surprise you? He didn't want to do anything huge, like prevent a war. He wanted to alter personal history in the not-so-distant past.
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N: Well, everything about Kenneth surprised me quite a bit. He was just this out-of-the-box character that you kind of think is going to turn out to be insane. I wasn't sure what to think of him for most of the movie, but I think that's the idea.
A: Let's not reveal too much, but Kenneth may or may not have been lying about whether this ex-girlfriend is still alive. I can relate that Darius was shaken up by this, but she wasn't completely honest with Kenneth either — she met him to work on a story, not out of a genuine belief in his mission. Although it seems like she starts to believe in it later on.
Again, I feel like "time travel" in this movie was just a metaphor for love. In our minds, we travel backward and forward in time, thinking of who and what came before, mistakes we don't want to repeat, and we want to cover new ground. It's scary and exciting and a little crazy when you think about it.
N: Do you think Darius and Kenneth are a couple that's meant to last? Or does the movie just celebrate their crazy moment in time without any hint to a future?
A: Or could they end up trapped in time together? Wait. Is this still a metaphor?
Watch Safety Not Guaranteed in theaters now to find out what happens to Darius and Kenneth. Would you go back in time and change any moments in your romantic life?