7.2/10
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122 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

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. 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

Peter Dunning: We are one with the power that created us. We're safe and all is well in our world.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Narc: The Visual Trip (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Whenever I Call You Friend
Performed by Kenny Loggins and Stevie Nicks (uncredited)
Written by Kenny Loggins and Melissa Manchester
Published by Milk Money Music, ASCAP
Rumanian Pickleworks Music, BMI
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
How not to survive in a crass, contagious, consumer prison...
17 December 2006 | by RJBurke1942See all my reviews

Julianne Moore is one of my favorite actresses and that's the reason I decided to watch this one.

This film is labeled as Drama/Thriller. Well, the drama's here, no doubt, as Carol White (Moore) slowly begins to succumb to the multiple effects of all types of pollution that pervade our technocratic consumer societies. There's psychological drama also as her husband, Greg (Xander Berkeley) tries to come to some understanding about Carol and how his marriage seems to be slowly disintegrating. And, there's drama also when Carol reacts violently to various chemicals, such that she is hospitalized and undergoes a battery of tests...

But... Thriller? Not at all, not by a long shot.

This is something better than mere thrills – at one level, it's a modern horror story that we are all living, because we are all part of this petrochemical world that we cannot reasonably escape. At another level, it's also the horror that results when a person decides to dislocate from the polluted world we all live in and construct another world within the mind. The end result of such an act is usually madness... eventually.

Beautifully acted by all the players, so that it seems that they aren't acting; it is, after all, all too real, is it not? The musical background is simply stunning – brooding, dark, menacing, and reminiscent of a David Lynch soundtrack. Visually, for the first half, you are battered with repetitive images of unending lines of traffic, excessive noise, mindless activities, rampant consumerism – all designed to reflect the battered mind and body of Carol as she struggles to determine her future in a world that is increasingly threatening.

How she does that forms the second half. Does she succeed? I could say Yes and No, but I'll leave it up to you to decide when you see it. Enjoy...if you can!


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