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Safe (1995)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 5,963

My Rating

Movie Info

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,


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Todd Haynes

Aug 21, 2001

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Watch It Now



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All Critics (50) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (8) | DVD (10)

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.

June 24, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

June 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This creepy art movie will stay with you.

July 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The audaciousness that marked Todd Haynes' earlier work has been supplanted by self-important preachiness.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The ironic handling of decor and characterisation builds an eerie portrait of the blissed-out West Coast bourgeoisie at their most brainwashed.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

June 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

With anti-star boldness, Moore doesn't so much embody the role as disembody it, dissolving before our eyes.

June 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Frequently fascinating, it never builds into anything profound.

June 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

Safe is numbingly fascinating, partly due to its carefully composed, antiseptic visual style and its throbbingly threatening soundtrack.

June 24, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

Todd Haynes has always tended towards the clinical, an approach which in this dark and ambiguous allegory proves ever so coolly appropriate.

July 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4

Beautifully constructed, chilling internal nightmare where every scene plays out like a little mini movie in and of itself. Brilliant.

July 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Like Carol, this gifted filmmaker seems to be trapped inside a shell -- devoting his considerable intelligence mainly to justifying his own sense of paralysis.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Though the film had a miniscule budget, it looks outstanding with its dull, muted colors and godawful lite-rock soundtrack.

November 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

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

October 1, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

One of the most mesmerizing and provocative films in recent years.

May 27, 2006 Full Review Source:

Moore gives a superb performance, see it

July 8, 2005

An overpraised, go-nowhere project.

December 8, 2004
Lawrence Journal-World

Pretentious, stilted and beyond dull.

June 11, 2004
Nitrate Online

There is evidence to support a number of claims of Safe's contemporary social relevance, but the film is durably and tacitly ambiguous.

November 20, 2003 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

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.
September 4, 2009

Super Reviewer

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 main
August 29, 2011
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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...
July 20, 2008

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Safe (1995) (DE)
  • Safe (1995) (UK)
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