Safe (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes


Safe (1995)



Critic Consensus: Safe's eerie social satire and somewhat sterile stylization is balanced by comedic undertones and an impressive, understated performance from Julianne Moore.

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Movie Info

A suburban housewife suddenly finds herself "allergic to the 20th century," in this drama. Carol White is a typical upper-middle class suburban housewife. She lives with her husband and step-son in a lovely home in the San Fernando Valley. She is normal in every way as she socializes with friends, eats right, and keeps a good home. But she does have a nagging cough. The cough keeps getting worse and is followed by nosebleeds and violent seizures. The doctors are puzzled but conclude that she, like a growing number, has become hypersensitive to the chemical substances that surround us. Even a whiff of cologne can trigger an allergic reaction in Carol. To find treatment, Carol journeys to New Mexico and enrolls in the Wrenwood Institute, a New Age facility designed for healing people. It is headed by Peter, who promotes self-love.

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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 Dispatcher
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 Speaker
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
View All

News & Interviews for Safe

Critic Reviews for Safe

All Critics (60) | Top Critics (20)

Haynes does to us what his film does to Carol, cannily exploiting our willingness to find answers where there are none, to read meaning into associations.

April 14, 2020 | Full Review…

In many ways, 'Safe' predicts both the insular nature of contemporary society, and the (counter-intuitive) disease of conformity that's synonymous with it.

June 7, 2016 | Full Review…

Safe is brilliant for the way Haynes, with cinematographer Alex Nepomniaschy and composer Ed Tomney, blankets the mundane in the eerie tone of science fiction and horror.

December 10, 2014 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

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…

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 | Rating: 3/4

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

July 21, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Safe


An intriguing, unsettling look at a naïve, 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
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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
Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

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