Safe (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

Safe (1995)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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, 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
Rating: R (adult situations/language, sex)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Todd Haynes
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 21, 2001
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


Julianne Moore
as Carol White
Peter Friedman
as Peter Dunning
Xander Berkeley
as Greg White
Steve Gilborn
as Dr. Hubbard
Peter Crombie
as Dr. Reynolds
Ronnie Farer
as Barbara
Janel Moloney
as Hairdresser
Lorna Scott
as Marilyn
Steven Gilborn
as Dr. Hubbard
as Dry Cleaners Manager
Tim Gardner
as Department Store Dis...
Wendy Haynes
as Waitress
Jean Pflieger
as Client's Wife
Brendan Dolan
as Patrolman
John Apicella
as Psychiatrist
Wendy Gayle
as Baby Shower Mother
Cassy Friel
as Baby Shower Child
Frank Dent
as Video Narrator
Beth Grant
as Becky, Auditorium S...
Jo Wilkinson
as Listener No. 1
Gerrielani Miyazaki
as Listener No. 2
Edith Meeks
as Patient No. 1
Francesca P. Roberts
as Patient No. 2
Elinor O. Caplan
as Patient No. 3
Julie Burgess
as Aerobics Instructor
Joe Comando
as Exterminator
Mitchell Greenhill
as Accompanist
Ravi Achar
as Wrenwood Instructor
Tricia Dong
as Wrenwood Patient
James Lyons
as Cab Driver
Mitch Greenhill
as Accompanist
Francesca Roberts
as Patient No. 2
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Safe

Critic Reviews for Safe

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (13)

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.

Full Review… | June 24, 2013
New Yorker
Top 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.

Full Review… | June 24, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

This creepy art movie will stay with you.

Full Review… | July 21, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top 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.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer


An intriguing, unsettling look at a na´ve, sheltered housewife (Julianne Moore) who becomes very sick, only to have her doctors tell her they have no idea what is wrong with her. When she decides to move to join a group centered on wellness led by a charismatic leader (Peter Friedman), her health continues to plummet. What makes this thing watchable and interesting is director Todd Haynes take on environment and how sometimes where we live and who we surround ourselves with is the true poison to one's overall health. Moore's rock-solid performance anchors this movie throughout its entirety, and it still has a chilling effect on one after the credits roll.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

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

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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