Safe (1995)

R  |   |  Drama  |  30 June 1995 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 7,690 users  
Reviews: 116 user | 88 critic

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



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3 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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


"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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

30 June 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chemical Syndrome  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)


$512,245 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Julianne Moore dropped 10 pounds for her role. See more »


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


Referenced in Game On: Martin's Baby (1998) See more »


Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car
Performed by Billy Ocean
Written by Billy Ocean and Robert John Lange
Published by Zomba Enterprises Inc., ASCAP
Courtesy of Jive Records
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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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