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

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4 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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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:

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Release Date:

30 June 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chemical Syndrome  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

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

Many interiors such as Carol's house were filmed in Todd Haynes' family and relatives' houses. The exterior of the St. Tropez restaurant (the next scene after the dinner where Carol doesn't laugh at the vibrator joke) was shot, remarkably, using the exterior of Haynes' parents house. The street that opens the film is also the street where their house is located and his mother's car can be seen in the shot. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Carol White: I love you. I love you. I really love you. I love you.
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Turn Your Love Around
Performed by George Benson
Written by Jay Graydon, Steve Lukather and Bill Champlin
Published by Garden Rake Music, Inc.
Administered by MCA Music Publishing, a Division of MCA Inc. ASCAP; Rheetakul Veets, BMG Music,
ASCAP and Leeds Music, ASCAP
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

 
brilliant depiction of suburbia and the new age movement
19 March 1999 | by (Columbia, MO) – See all my reviews

This is my very favorite movie, one of the scariest I've ever seen. The alienation and isolation of the suburbs come across beautifully in this film. Car culture and sprawl definitely contribute to the empty feeling one receives from following this story of a rich suburban housewife's allergic reaction to her vapid life. The mood and statement of the film are epitomized by the scene in which Carol is driving alone on the freeway, going into convulsions from "the fumes", all while the scratchy radio produces mundane religious babble. Ironically, she pulls off the road and is "saved" by the confines of a parking garage. How appropriate based upon the pigheaded tendency for urban planners to say, "Boy, this traffic is horrible, what do we do about it? I know! We'll build more parking garages!" The scratchy babble of religious radio in the scene indicates the hypocritical irrelevance of spirituality when it exists as part of a alienated consumer-driven, environmentally-destructive society. Religion, particularly the new-age movement seems to parallel the suburbs in its pretty blandness and emergence as a way for capitalists to try to redeem their souls/family life after destroying society (eg the inner city). New age and suburbia combine when Carol goes to Wrenwood (a place even more sterile and removed from reality than Carol's suburb), a healing retreat for people with environmental illness. Despite a lot of fluffy, positive talk on behalf of an AIDS victim guru, Carol's physical and spiritual condition only decline at Wrenwood--she becomes more and more like Lester, the faceless guy in the white suit (the perfect new age suburbanite) who is afraid of everything and is expected to die based on that fear.


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