Film critic Roger Ebert:
"The cast is first-rate, and so there are individual
scenes that sparkle. Many of them involve the invaluable
Susan Sarandon, who just continues to grow as an
actress... Shepard is effective, too, although
his periodic bouts of blindness come across more as
comic relief than as psychological symptoms."
Caryn James, NY Times:
"Mag wants a career as a social worker and has kicked
Patrick out because he laughed at the idea. Patrick also
has occasional bouts of blindness, and the doctors have
found no cause. The role is a terrible waste of Mr.
Shepard, who spends most of the film walking around
the house saying whether he is blind or not."
Leonard Klady, Variety:
"Despite a general dour atmosphere, the cast struggles
mightily to provide a human dimension to their roles.
Sarandon is effective as the latter-day Mother Courage,
and Shepard effortlessly conveys Patrickís
effortless rambling through life. Best of the boys is
Sean Astin, the square peg in relation to the rest of
"In this crowded, enormously entertaining production,
the filmmaking debut of stage director Robert Allan
Ackerman, all the performances apart from Sarandonís are
uniformly good. And though Sarandon threatens to eclipse
some of her co-stars, Shepard is droll as her
husband who suffers inexplicable blind spells and Marcia
Gay Harden superb as Alfredís live-in lover."
Peter Rainer, LA Times:
"With the exception of Sarandon, and possibly Shepard
and Astin, none of the performers have much
authenticity. Sarandon is excellent- Her Mag has a
well-worn look; you can believe that this women spent
all those years mothering and mediating her brood. And
she has a look in her eye for her husband that's a woozy
combination of lust and stupefaction. Sarandon makes the
movie worth seeing ."
Johanna Steinmetz, Chicago Tribune:
"Sarandon endows this part with the heroic passion she
brought to Lorenzo's Oil and The Client.
Sam Shepard, as her estranged husband, whose own
brand of hysteria takes the form of occasional attacks
of headaches and blindness, is laconic and perfectly
charming. And that's the problem. These are movie stars,
very good ones, in roles that might better be played by
character actors. The attention their presence commands,
and the expectations it sets up, don't fit this quietly
riveting drama about a neurotic family, and its confused
mother, in crisis."
LA Daily News:
"In Safe Passage, Sarandon has some decidedly
sensual moments with Sam Shepard, who plays her
husband, Patrick, and the father of her seven sons, one
of whom is a Marine missing following an explosion at
his barracks in the Middle East. The crisis brings the
six other boys home and prompts her to re-examine her
decision to get out of the marriage she entered into as
a teen- ager and begin a career as a social worker."
"Screenwriter Deena Goldstone gives her script the kind
of jangled dialogue one would expect in such a family
setting, and the whole cast delivers restrained
performances that underscore the film's essential
normalcy. Sarandon is at her usual best as Maggie,
delivering a thoughtful performance...
Multi-talented actor, director and playwright Shepard
also delivers as Patrick, and Sean Astin accompanies his
performance with a comedic turn as Patrick's med-student
son Izzy, who studies his dad for three days in an
attempt to diagnose his blindness."