7.2/10
10,685
123 user 92 critic

Safe (1995)

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1:15 | Trailer

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

Director:

Todd Haynes

Writer:

Todd Haynes
4 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Julianne Moore ... Carol White
Xander Berkeley ... Greg White
Dean Norris ... Mover
Julie Burgess Julie Burgess ... Aerobics Instructor
Ronnie Farer Ronnie Farer ... Barbara
Jodie Markell ... Anita
Susan Norman ... Linda
Martha Velez Martha Velez ... Fulvia (as Martha Velez-Johnson)
Chauncey Leopardi ... Rory
Saachiko Saachiko ... Dry Cleaners Manager
Tim Gardner Tim Gardner ... Department Store Dispatcher
Wendy Haynes Wendy Haynes ... Waitress
Allan Wasserman ... Client (as Alan Wasserman)
Jean St. James ... Client's Wife (as Jean Pflieger)
Steven Gilborn ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Sony

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

30 June 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chemical Syndrome See more »

Filming Locations:

Simi Valley, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$512,245
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Editor James Lyons has a cameo as a cab driver. See more »

Goofs

Although this film was explicitly set in 1987, while Carol is driving on the highway, she passes a burgundy 1992 Cadillac de Ville. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Carol White: I love you. I love you. I really love you. I love you.
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
Powerful but understated film with multiple meanings and a bravura performance from Julianne Moore
17 December 2004 | by colettesplaceSee all my reviews

Although it's been almost ten years since filmmaker Todd Haynes (Velvet Goldmine, Far From Heaven) made Safe, the film's only secured cinematic release in Australia in 2004. As Safe quietly satirises the 80s, the delayed release improves it, adding another layer of perspective to a heroine who lives life in a series of bubbles.

It's 1987, and timid California housewife Carol (a young Julianne Moore) is immersed in upper-middle class minutiae – ensuring her couch is the right colour, sleepwalking through a tepid aerobics class, and submitting to her husband (Greg White from 24). But gradually cracks appear in this pristine life, tiredness, unexplained illness…until she is diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivity. She then moves to Wrenwood, a healing retreat founded by the charismatic Peter (Peter Friedman) – but will this solve her problem? Or is it just another escape? Safe is a very interesting film about a woman so overwhelmed by her environment that she becomes allergic to it. Writer and director Haynes has combined aspects of the disease film (e.g. Love Story) with the psychological thriller – as Carol doesn't know what triggers her symptoms, the audience never knows when she'll have another attack.

While Haymes criticises the New Age belief that illness is psychologically-based, in Carol's case, it's impossible to separate the psychological and physical aspects of her illness. The cinematography shows her dwarfed by her environment and Haymes offers no easy solutions. ***½/***** stars.


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