Safe (1995 film): Difference between revisions

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The 1995 production was voted best film of the nineties by The Village Voice Film Poll<ref name=":13">{{Cite web|url=https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOzFilLNcgrGzAeECAbUFCQ|title="Todd Haynes Q&A {{!}} Safe", Retrospective of Todd Haynes films|last=|first=|date=25 November 2015|website=Film at Lincoln Center, YouTube|archive-url=|archive-date=|access-date=30 October 2019}}</ref>, and was described by critics as ”the scariest film of the year”,<ref name=":13" /> “a mesmerizing horror movie”<ref>{{Cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/videos/saferkempley_c026c9.htm|title=Safe|last=Kempley|first=Rita|date=4 August 1995|work=Washington Post|access-date=30 October 2019}}</ref> and “a work of feminist counter-cinema,”<ref>Geller, Theresa L. "The Hardest, The Most Difficult Film: Todd Haynes’ Safe as Feminist Film Praxis or what the fuck is this” or “An Indelible Mark: Women and the Work of Todd Haynes”, a presentation, Grinnell College, 2013. page 6.</ref>
 
The 1995 production was voted best film of the nineties by The Village Voice Film Poll<ref name=":13">{{Cite web|url=https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOzFilLNcgrGzAeECAbUFCQ|title="Todd Haynes Q&A {{!}} Safe", Retrospective of Todd Haynes films|last=|first=|date=25 November 2015|website=Film at Lincoln Center, YouTube|archive-url=|archive-date=|access-date=30 October 2019}}</ref>, and was described by critics as ”the scariest film of the year”,<ref name=":13" /> “a mesmerizing horror movie”<ref>{{Cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/videos/saferkempley_c026c9.htm|title=Safe|last=Kempley|first=Rita|date=4 August 1995|work=Washington Post|access-date=30 October 2019}}</ref> and “a work of feminist counter-cinema,”<ref>Geller, Theresa L. "The Hardest, The Most Difficult Film: Todd Haynes’ Safe as Feminist Film Praxis or what the fuck is this” or “An Indelible Mark: Women and the Work of Todd Haynes”, a presentation, Grinnell College, 2013. page 6.</ref>
   
Set in 1987, it follows Carol White, a suburban housewife in Los Angeles, whose life is abruptly and irrevocably changed when she becomes sick with a mysterious environmental illness.
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Set in 1987, it follows Carol White, a suburban housewife in Los Angeles, whose life is abruptly and irrevocably changed when she becomes sick with a mysterious [https://me-pedia.org/wiki/Multiple_chemical_sensitivity environmental illness].
   
 
Twenty years after the film’s release, Haynes said its themes—disease and immunity in a post-industrial landscape and how recovery is a burden often put on victims of illness—were even more relevant than they were when he made the film.<ref name=":14" />
 
Twenty years after the film’s release, Haynes said its themes—disease and immunity in a post-industrial landscape and how recovery is a burden often put on victims of illness—were even more relevant than they were when he made the film.<ref name=":14" />

Revision as of 10:24, 15 February 2020

Safe is a British/American psychological drama, written and directed by Todd Haynes and starring Julianne Moore.

The 1995 production was voted best film of the nineties by The Village Voice Film Poll[1], and was described by critics as ”the scariest film of the year”,[1] “a mesmerizing horror movie”[2] and “a work of feminist counter-cinema,”[3]

Set in 1987, it follows Carol White, a suburban housewife in Los Angeles, whose life is abruptly and irrevocably changed when she becomes sick with a mysterious environmental illness.

Twenty years after the film’s release, Haynes said its themes—disease and immunity in a post-industrial landscape and how recovery is a burden often put on victims of illness—were even more relevant than they were when he made the film.[4]

Plot

Protagonist Carol White, played by [[Julianne Moore]], is a homemaker in an affluent suburb of Los Angeles.

Carol passes her days with activities like gardening, aerobics, seeing friends. Her marriage and family life appear stable but devoid of emotional intimacy. Her friendships are polite but distant.

Following the renovation of the family's home, Carol suddenly starts having physical symptoms when she is around certain everyday chemicals.

For example, she has uncontrollable coughing when breathing exhaust fumes from a truck while driving, she has breathing dificulties at a baby shower, a nose bleed when getting a perm at a hair salon and, finally, convulsions at the dry cleaners. As her symptoms worsen, the chemicals that are triggering them seem ubiquitous. Her condition isn't given a name in the film but Haynes has said that is depicting the environnmental illness multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS).[1]

Doctors are at a loss of how to cure or help Carol. She attends some psychotherapy sessions, but this doesn't improve her symptoms.

Carol is very alone with this disease, with her community being presented as largely indifferent and non-inclusive towards her, post illness. Ultimately, she leaves her home, possessions and world behind, and without her husband, moves to Wrenwood, an eerie desert community for people with environmental illness.

Wrenwood seems more like a new age cult than a place to heal, and it is led by a man whose "relentless motivational talks amount to psychological fascism."[5]

Even in a community of people with similar health issues, Carol only seems to become more isolated. Ultimately, Haynes doesn't seem to present an answer for her illness or predicament.

“She is so excruciatingly alone”, Moore said of her character at the end of the film.[4] While Haynes said Carol’s isolation was both the answer and the problem for her.[1]

Cast

Release

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 1995.[6] Sony Pictures Classics acquired distribution rights to the film and released the film in a limited release on June 23, 1995.[7]

Reception

Reviews

Safe received positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reports 86% approval based on 56 reviews,[8][9] and the film holds a score of 76/100 on Metacritic.[10] Janet Maslin, writing in The New York Times, lauds the first half of the film, but concludes that, as “brilliantly as it begins, Safe eventually succumbs to its own modern malady, as the film maker insists on a chilly ambiguity that breeds more detachment than interest”…. “Mr. Haynes makes fools of …[the film’s] New Agers while possibly embracing some of their views.” Another problem, according to Maslin, is that “the shadow of AIDS implicitly hangs over …[Carol’s] decline, but it doesn't help bring Safe to a conclusion worthy of its inspired beginning”.[11]

The ending of the film is highly ambiguous, and has created considerable debate among critics and audiences as to whether Carol has emancipated herself, or simply traded one form of suffocation for an equally constricting identity as a reclusive invalid.[12] Julie Grossman argues in her article "The Trouble with Carol" that Haynes concludes the film as a challenge to traditional Hollywood film narratives of the heroine taking charge of her life, and that Haynes sets Carol up as the victim both of a male-dominated society, and also of an equally debilitating self-help culture that encourages patients to take sole responsibility for their illness and recovery.[13]

Carol's illness has been read as an analogy for the AIDS crisis of the mid-1980s, as a similarly uncomfortable and largely unspoken "threat" in 1980s Reaganist America.[14]

Accolades

Safe received seven votes in the British Film Institute's 2012 Sight & Sound poll of the greatest films – with five votes from critics and two from directors – ranking it 323rd and 322nd, respectively.[15] They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?, a website which gathers critics' polls, has also found Safe to be the 499th most acclaimed movie of all time.[16]

The movie was widely critically acclaimed, giving Moore her first leading role in a feature film, and gave Haynes a measure of mainstream critical recognition.[17]

Awards

  • 1996 Independent Spirit Awards - Nominated for Best Director (Todd Haynes), Best Feature, Best Female Lead (Julianne Moore), and Best Screenplay (Todd Haynes)
  • 1995 Boston Society of Film Critics Awards - Best Cinematography - Alex Nepomniaschy
  • 1995 Seattle International Film Festival - American Independent Award - Todd Haynes
  • 1996 Rotterdam International Film Festival - FIPRESCI Prize Special Mention - Todd Haynes

References

  1. ^ a b c d ""Todd Haynes Q&A | Safe", Retrospective of Todd Haynes films". Film at Lincoln Center, YouTube. 25 November 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  2. ^ Kempley, Rita (4 August 1995). "Safe". Washington Post. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  3. ^ Geller, Theresa L. "The Hardest, The Most Difficult Film: Todd Haynes’ Safe as Feminist Film Praxis or what the fuck is this” or “An Indelible Mark: Women and the Work of Todd Haynes”, a presentation, Grinnell College, 2013. page 6.
  4. ^ a b "Todd Haynes and Julianne Moore on Safe". CriterionCollection, YouTube. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  5. ^ Gonsalves, Rob (21 May 2006). "Safe (1995)". E-Film Critic. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  6. ^ McCarthy, Todd (January 26, 1995). "Review: 'Safe'". Variety. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  7. ^ "Safe". Sony Pictures Classics. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  8. ^ Maslin, Janet (23 June 1995), Life of a Hollow Woman, New York Times, retrieved 4 January 2015
  9. ^ Safe, Fandango Media, 2015, retrieved September 26, 2019
  10. ^ "Safe Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  11. ^ Maslin, Op. cit.
  12. ^ "Todd Haynes Discusses 'Safe,' Letting Go of the Past, Working With Julianne Moore, and 'Carol'". 15 December 2014.
  13. ^ Grossman, Julie (January 2005). "The Trouble with Carol: The Costs of Feeling Good in Todd Haynes's [Safe] and the American Cultural Landscape". Other Voices. University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  14. ^ "Todd Haynes on the unsafe world of Safe". The Dissolve.
  15. ^ "Safe (1995)". British Film Institute. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  16. ^ "TSPDT - 1,000 Greatest Films (Full List)". They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  17. ^ "Top 10 Julianne Moore Performances". WatchMojo.

External links