Saturday, March 14, 2015


Movie Name: Safe
Year of Release: 1995
Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: Julianne Moore, Xander Berkeley, Peter Friedman, James Le Gros, Steven Gilborn, Janel Moloney, Beth Grant, Dean Norris
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

After his feature length debut with "Poison", director Todd Haynes returned in 1995 with the critically well received "Safe". The film follows the story of Carol White, a young housewife with a seemingly idyllic life in the suburbs, with a husband who loves her and a stepson. Carol starts exhibiting symptoms of illness, with unexplained headaches, congestion, dry cough, nosebleeds, and so forth. Her family doctor dismisses these issues, and suggests Carol seek a psychiatrist. Finally Carol is informed she has environmental illness, where her body is reacting against the constant exposure of chemicals from every day life. She finally finds herself in a new age center, run by a shady individual who may have his own agenda towards Carol.
Todd Haynes has built a career tackling stories that focus on protagonists that are outside of society's traditional norms. "Safe" is no exception, since the director focuses on the progressive decay of Carol, and how she becomes repulsed by all reality that surrounds her, material and also emotional. Carol may be the epitome of what represents society in general in the late 20th century (and now also in the 21st century) - out of balance with what surrounds us, alienated from contact and progressively removed from what makes us ultimately human. The film features a stunning performance from Julianne Moore, who was then establishing herself, and who embodies Carol and her phobias with a piercing conviction, allowing us to feel her despair and isolation. A great film from a fantastic director.