Todd Haynes presents a revisionist take on the paranoia thriller with this story of a Southern California housewife who suddenly falls victim to an inexplicable, apparently incurable illness. Carol White (Julianne Moore) lives with her husband and son in suburban comfort until she collapses one day, for no apparent reason. Her condition worsens in the weeks that follow, as she suffers from coughing fits, exhaustion, and spontaneous nose bleeds, triggered by sources as disparate as car exhaust, cologne, and the sun. Failing to find any medical explanation for her maladies, her doctor refers her to a psychiatrist, who suggests that her physical ailments are psychosomatic -- a theory echoed by her callous and increasingly frustrated husband. At her wits' end, Carol withdraws to an expensive New Age retreat for sufferers of "20th century disease," where the community's guru (Peter Friedman) champions a dubious regimen of diet, climate control, introspection, and self-love. … More
No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.Login
Critic Reviews for Safe
Moore, in a nearly unplayable role, is amazingly vivid and touching; this is a heartbreaking portrait of a woman in full, panicked retreat from life.
You'd have to be cranky or blind to deny Haynes' artistry and vision. There's a dark power, a tremor that runs through the movie like the rumble of a secret dread.
In a summer of heavyweight action movies and flyweight romantic comedies, I don't think you'll find a more provocative little number than Safe, which creeps under your skin like a rash.
The audaciousness that marked Todd Haynes' earlier work has been supplanted by self-important preachiness.
The ironic handling of decor and characterisation builds an eerie portrait of the blissed-out West Coast bourgeoisie at their most brainwashed.
Moore, evidently under Haynes' instruction, gives a performance composed of near-total inertia. Her pale lifelessness -- meant to be frightening, I suppose -- is merely irritating.
With anti-star boldness, Moore doesn't so much embody the role as disembody it, dissolving before our eyes.
Safe is numbingly fascinating, partly due to its carefully composed, antiseptic visual style and its throbbingly threatening soundtrack.
Todd Haynes has always tended towards the clinical, an approach which in this dark and ambiguous allegory proves ever so coolly appropriate.
Beautifully constructed, chilling internal nightmare where every scene plays out like a little mini movie in and of itself. Brilliant.
Like Carol, this gifted filmmaker seems to be trapped inside a shell -- devoting his considerable intelligence mainly to justifying his own sense of paralysis.
Though the film had a miniscule budget, it looks outstanding with its dull, muted colors and godawful lite-rock soundtrack.
Richer in subtext than text, this poignant, much misunderstood deconstructive film, about environmental diseseas, New Age therapy and TV movie of the week, deserves a second look due to meanings and Julianne Moore's terrific performance in a tough role
Moore gives a superb performance, see it
An overpraised, go-nowhere project.
Pretentious, stilted and beyond dull.
Audience Reviews for Safe
Provoking look at how we struggle to deal with disease and mortality in our godless world.
Relevant and frightening if perhaps a tad sluggish and studied. Director Todd Haynes does amazing things on shoestring budgets.
i'm pretty sure this is a horror film. it's creepy as hell. director todd haynes walks a tightrope here. we never know for sure whose side he's on. it's verging on parody at some points but never quite. and the sound design is awesome. chilling from the first scene. i see a lot of comments about frustratingly slow pace and tbh it took me more than one sitting but i found it fascinating in the mainMore
With Safe, I'm sure there were some interesting things and comments going on but the extreme boredom I was overcome with while watching this movie killed my ability to recognize them. Julianne Moore plays a mousy, spineless and generally uninteresting wife overcome with a breakdown of her immune system leaving her susceptible to environmental toxins such as car exhaust, pesticides, etc. Haynes' visual style is pretty interesting and I liked the fact that this was technically a period piece (a movie taking place in 1987 made in 1995) with a few quirks but if you don't know exactly what you're looking at or for, you're in for a very painful watch. Overall, just an interesting concept that never convinces us it is...More
Burningly unique and very evocative. It may be a little bit overdone in its lingering, interminably long shots of Julianne Moore wandering restlessly with no real purpose, but it kind of sums up her character's life.
I do love Safe's sense of tact. The movie is exploding with subtext; it allows plenty of room for interpretation. I am always really hesitant to use that phrase because when something has "room for interpretation", it almost always means that the writer/director didn't know what the fuck they were doing and willingly allowed the audiences to fill in the gaps (DAVID LYNCH COUGH COUGH). Safe instead allows its viewers to explore different facets of the problems within; it's thoughtful, interesting and complete.
I have a serious problem with the gaudy arthouse ending, but it's just that thirty-second stretch. In terms of actual content, I do appreciate where Safe leaves off - on a very bleak note for Carol. It leaves you wanting to wish her luck because she's definitely going to need it.
Discuss Safe on our Movie forum!