Seemingly typical housewife Carol White (Julianne Moore) and her husband Greg (Xander Berkeley) live with their son in California’s San Fernando Valley. On the surface, the timid homemaker appears it have it all: a large house, a loving family, good looks, and a lot of friends. That’s until she begins to get strangely ill, experiencing unexplained bouts of nausea, headaches and seizures. Although her doctors are mystified and claim that she’s in perfect health, Carol begins to suspect she might be allergic to the common toxins of the 20th century — the chemicals found in food, cleaning products, clothing and pollutants. Increasingly isolated from her confused family members, she seeks out a new-age retreat for the “environmentally ill” led by a slippery individual named Peter Dunning (Peter Friedman) and is soon wholly enveloped in her own paranoia.
Why You Should See This Film
Often described as “a horror movie of the soul”, Safe marked the first collaboration between cinematic pals Julianne Moore and Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven, Carol). Helping to put Moore’s name firmly on the map of essential stars, her performance is both delicate and deeply unsettling — speaking to our shared anxieties that persist to this day about the unknown dangers of chemicals in daily life. And not only that, but Safe was also deservedly named Best Film of the Decade in a Village Voice poll just four years after its release.
- Year: 1995
- Rating: M
- Director: Todd Haynes
- Cast: Julianne Moore, Xander Berkeley, Dean Norris
- Duration: 121 minutes
- Language: English