[Movie] Safe (1995)

  • Directed By: Todd Haynes
  • Cast: Julianne Moore, Peter Friedman, Xander Berkeley

We are one with the power that created us. We’re safe and all is well in our world.

from the movie

The “Safe” is categorized as a (psychological) horror film by the director himself. It consists of 3 parts or stages of the main character, Carol White, a wealthy housewife.

At first, Carol is portraited as who has got all but missed something. She has a wealthy husband, maids, a nice and big house, and many friends, but she is distracted, and her life is mechanical. The first theme seems like bourgeois boredom and class awareness through the lives of Carol and her wealthy friends.

The next stage is more personal; Carol’s psychological struggles. Her physical health is good, and psychotherapy sessions are not helpful. As symptoms become worse, she finds out she does not fit in her current community.

Finally, Carol moves to a new-age desert community for people with environmental illnesses to find salvation. Unfortunately, even with mutual help and motivational push, she becomes more isolated, and her status does not improve.

The film is ambiguous, which makes the movie interesting as well as being void. If Todd Haynes intended to make the film a horror as he dubbed it, the directing was a failure. The friends of Carol seem pretentious but predictable, the portrait of new agers seems mediocre, and the description of environmental issues or the AIDS crisis seems too weak to convey any meaning.

The good part of the movie is in its acting. The performances of Julianne Moore as Carol White and Peter Friedman as Peter Dunning were emotional and real, just amazing. But the film fails to deliver anything as a whole.

Not surprisingly, there is no proper ending in the movie. Carol is fighting with the non-problem, which does not have any solution because the problem is none. At the same time, there are so many problems around us, and there is no escape from them.

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