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Safe (1995)

 -  Drama  -  30 June 1995 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 6,263 users  
Reviews: 109 user | 68 critic

An affluent and unexceptional homemaker in the suburbs develops multiple chemical sensitivity.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Greg White
...
Mover
Julie Burgess ...
Aerobics Instructor
Ronnie Farer ...
Barbara
...
Anita
...
Linda
Martha Velez ...
Fulvia (as Martha Velez-Johnson)
...
Rory
Saachiko ...
Dry Cleaners Manager
Tim Gardner ...
Department Store Dispatcher
Wendy Haynes ...
Waitress
...
Client (as Alan Wasserman)
...
Client's Wife (as Jean Pflieger)
...
Dr. Hubbard
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Storyline

"Safe" has been described as a horror movie of the soul, a description that director Todd Haynes relishes. California housewife Carol White seems to have it all in life: a wealthy husband, a beautiful house, servants, beauty, and a lot of friends. The only thing she lacks is a strong personality: Carol seems timid and empty during all of her interactions with the world around her. At the beginning of the film, one would consider her to be more safe in life than just about anyone. That doesn't turn out to be the case. Starting with headaches and leading to a grandmal seizure, Carol becomes more and more sick, claiming that she's become sensitive to the common toxins in today's world: exhaust, fumes, aerosol spray, etc. She pulls back from the sexual advances of her husband and spends her nights alone by the TV or wandering around the outside of her well-protected home like an animal in a cage. Her physician examines her and can find nothing wrong. An allergist finds that she has an ... Written by David Eschatfische <esch@fische.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In the 21st century nobody will be...Safe.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a sex scene and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

30 June 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chemical Syndrome  »

Box Office

Gross:

$512,245 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Picked by Entertainment Weekly magazine as one of the "50 Greatest Independent Films" in a special supplement devoted to independent films that was only distributed to subscribers in November 1997. See more »

Quotes

Carol White: [about her declining health] I'm sorry. I know it's not normal but I can't help it.
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Connections

References The Stepford Wives (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Slow Water
Performed by Brian Eno and Robert Fripp (uncredited)
Written by Brian Eno
Published by EG Music c/o BMG Songs, Inc., ASCAP
Courtesy of Virgin EG Records Ltd./Caroline Records Inc.
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User Reviews

 
Beautifully focused but open-ended modernist essay
13 January 2006 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

A minor masterpiece of poised ambiguity. A quiet, unviolent - but malevolent - film, there are no great dramatic set pieces. Instead there is a super-smooth, Hitchcock-like spooling out of tension but, crucially, without the comfort of being told either what's actually wrong or which characters are good or bad.

If there weren't a careful equilibrium between pacing and script then the film would be worth watching for two reasons alone. First is the brilliant composition of each shot, celluloid recreations of an (Edward) Hopperian existentialism. Secondly is the central performance of Julianne Moore. I'm not a huge fan but her default mode of pale, brittle neurosis is precisely what's needed for this film. In addition to this she follows the tide of Haynes' film perfectly, drifting in and out of control of herself just as Haynes pulls us toward and then away from centres of trust and security.

I didn't find the film frightening; rather I felt great pity for Moore's Carol, and disturbed that the self-interest of her friends and benevolence of her carers appears increasingly interchangeable. Peculiarly gripping 8/10


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