Sunday, April 24, 2016

889. Safe

Directed by Todd Haynes

I had never heard of this film before and, of course, if I haven't heard of it, no one else has.  Its obscurity is a shame, because Julianne Moore's performance alone makes this movie well worth a watch.

Carol White is an emotionally repressed housewife trapped in a passionless marriage.  Her days consist of aerobic classes, taking clothes to the dry cleaners, getting manicures, and hanging out with her equally dull friends.  She slowly begins to acquire severe symptoms, such as uncontrollable coughing fits and sudden nosebleeds.  Still, the doctors believe she is perfectly healthy.  She discovers there are others like her who seem to be allergic to modernity.   Eventually, she decides to move to a New Age treatment center to recover, but the center might be just as oppressive as the life Carol left.

The Book notes that this is a "thoroughly modern horror film."  I don't know if Carol's life is as frightening to most people as it is to me.  But honestly, I can't think of a more hellish existence (that doesn't include daily violence).  The scary part is that her husband doesn't seem to be holding her back from doing anything.  She doesn't seem to have any great ambitions or talents.  It is hard to root for her to escape from her life because, really, where would she go?  She didn't seem to possess any kind of spirit, which made her a rather fascinating character to watch.

I have complained about ambiguous endings in the past, but it really worked here.  Definitely a film that will stay with me.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Julianne Moore lost ten pounds for the role.

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