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Safe (1995)Safe (1995)

Safe (1995)

In this disturbing psychological drama, a wealthy woman’s suburban life is turned upside down when she suddenly becomes sick with “environmental illness"

Drama

best
THE VERY BEST

8.5

movie

United Kingdom, United States of America

English, Spanish

Smart, Thought-provoking

1995

Todd Haynes

April Grace, Beth Grant, Brandon Cruz

119 min

Synopsis

Carol, a typical upper middle-class housewife, begins to complain of vague symptoms of illness. She "doesn't feel right," has unexplained headaches, congestion, a dry cough, nosebleeds, vomiting, and trouble breathing. Her family doctor treats her concerns dismissively and suggests a psychiatrist. Eventually, an allergist tells her that she has Environmental Illness.

Our Take

8.5
Taylor Leigh Harper

Something is wrong with Carol White. She’s a well-off housewife living in the picturesque suburbs of Los Angeles. Her husband’s job is going well, her step-son is pleasant, and her social life consists of boutique lunches, fruit-filled diets, and lavishly pink baby showers—all is well on this side of the white picket fence.

Until Carol starts sneezing. Then she begins coughing, and she experiences a violent asthma attack while driving on the freeway. Afterward, Carol’s nose won’t stop bleeding. She starts having seizures. Struggling to breathe, Carol winds up in the hospital, seeing doctors and psychologists trying to diagnose what’s wrong and whether her mystery illness is physiological or psychological.

Todd Haynes’ Safe is an unnerving examination at our relationship with the environment—and in an increasingly modernized world, how much we can tolerate of what we create: white noise, toxins, busy work, everyday poisons, monotonous obligations. It’s also a complicated reflection on the ways in which women’s pain is disregarded and minimized, and what the loss of invisible agency looks like when it begins to manifest outward.

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