The entire runtime of Rare Objects is based on the concept that “kindness is key.” However, we don’t understand why the makers were not kind enough to better edit the movie or make the storyline and characters more coherent. The different methods of people dealing with their difficulties were just touched upon, but it was never elaborated why people chose that particular method or why it was unkind to the other person. Finally, the description of the movie itself says that it was through Benita’s job that she started healing, but why then, did the job take less than half an hour of screen time? We haven’t read the book it is based on, but the movie itself is not very good. Here is a recap of Rare Objects and what we could make of the bits of sense scattered in it.
What Does Benita Do After Coming Back Home?
An incident in a club ends up derailing Benita’s life in many ways. She meets a guy who sexually assaults her. She is unable to report him because he threatens to harm her further if she does. Benita might have also found it preferable to try and forget the incident instead of keep revisiting it in the pursuit of justice. But that is made especially difficult when she discovers that she is pregnant. Benita checks herself into a hospital for an abortion and also seeks treatment for PTSD. Admittedly, this was a very responsible and resourceful thing to do.
Once Benita checks out of the hospital, she goes to her mother’s house. Benita wants to take a break from school for a while and live with her mother. However, Aimee is concerned, as she believes that derailing her education will negatively affect Benita. It is a concern common enough among immigrants since a good education and a well-paying job are the best routes to settling well in the country. However, when Benita insists that she needs the break, Aimee lets it go. It surprised us how she never asked her daughter why she wanted to drop out of school or why she might not have been her usual self. This felt like a serious gap in the script. Additionally, when Benita expresses her worry about the loans piling up, Aimee is stubborn with her lack of empathy and insists that all Benita has to do is pray. We would call it toxic positivity now, but seeing Aimee do that to her daughter makes us wonder whether this is the recourse chosen by those who literally don’t know any other way to be. Acknowledging and dealing with problems is a fair amount of emotional labor, and when you are already on edge with everything else in life, maybe some blind positivity is all you can take.
Then there is Angie, Benita’s friend, who is disappointed in her for quitting school. Maybe she is projecting because Angie got pregnant and probably had to put her dreams on hold, so she was rooting for Benita to vicariously live through her. Again, it is all speculation since Rare Objects gives us no clarity. Either way, meeting Angie leads Benita to a job at an antique store, and she adapts well to it and to her boss, Peter Kessler. We believe that the job helps Benita by making her look at the art of things. A lampshade is not just a light-emitting device but something with a story about the house it was in and the things it has witnessed, which are reflected in the glow it gives out to the people who own it. There is also the mention of kintsugi, and if you are someone who has spent even a moderate amount of time not living under a rock, you know what it is. But, of course, trauma cannot be romanticized, and not all art is about a good story. As one of the owners of the store tells her in regard to a painting, it is not just about people owning things but also accepting them for their real past and meaning. That is what it means to give value to the imperfections of art. While working at her job, Benita also comes to know about Peter and her mother and the struggles they faced. We are not making a comparison between the level of difficulty of different people’s struggles, but rather the fact that people try to move on from them and keep looking for the good things in life.
‘Rare Objects’ Ending Explained: How Did Benita Go Back To Her Job?
At her job, Benita meets Diana, someone who was with her at the hospital getting treated for her trauma. Diana’s trauma seems to stem from a complicated relationship with her mother that drove her into abusive relationships later in life. Diana and Benita’s relationship can be best described as trauma bonding, as they spend time together and become each other’s safe space by virtue of the fact that they can expect an understanding from each other that they cannot from anyone else. However, Diana is a little unhinged since she doesn’t take her medications and calls the “voices in her head” her friends. We deduce that this means that she is bipolar. We wish that Rare Objects had made that clear to us. But whatever the relationship is, having a person who doesn’t judge her and allows her to talk about the more complex parts of her life allows Benita to finally start healing. It also looks like she may have a romantic connection with Diana’s brother, James. But there is another person showing interest in Benita, and that is her own boss, Ben Winshaw.
But Diana and Benita’s friendship does not help the former’s trauma. Something about people suffering from mental health disorders is that they are often consumed by themselves. This is not to say that they don’t care about other people’s problems, but they are not left with the bandwidth to do so. That is what happens with James and Diana. He wants to talk about himself, but Diana makes it about her, and he is frustrated at the lack of attention that his best friend is giving him. When he asks Diana to just let it be about him, she breaks down in tears. Later that day, Diana is committed to the hospital again, even though she doesn’t want it. Diana really is at the end of her rope, and maybe that is why it doesn’t come as a surprise to the audience that she commits suicide.
Benita is heartbroken at the loss of her best friend, the only person who ever understood her and did not judge her for putting her life on hold and taking a break. She stops coming to work, and that is when Ben meets her. He tells her that “it is okay to let people in.” This is not the most original line ever said on television, but in this context, we suppose he is asking her to have some faith in people. They may be a little judgy, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t care. Look at Aimee, for example. She never asked her daughter what went on with her but gave her space, was kind to her eventually, and gave her advice with the best intentions at heart. Then there is Angie. She may have been disappointed in Benita, but later on, she tells her that she is there if she needs a friend. What killed Diana was her lack of faith in the goodness of people, and that is what she had fought with her brother about. Therefore, at the end of Rare Objects, Benita decides to show some more courage once again in her journey by taking the next step forward instead of just giving up. That is when she shows up at her job, ready to work again for herself and her life.
We believe that Rare Objects could have been a beautiful movie if only so many things were not left to interpretation and were given clear reasoning. Maybe the book had that, but that would mean that this movie is strictly for those who have read the book. If you haven’t, this will feel like a complete waste of time. That surprises us all the more because Katie Holmes, the director, and producer of the movie, has also acted in it in the role of Diana. Why, then, couldn’t she spot its obvious flaws? Rare Objects, being a badly written and edited movie, has especially broken our hearts, considering its subject matter and the general outline of the story. We can only hope that its next adaptation does it justice.