by Izzy Kalman (November 2005)
My daughter, Lola, is an art student concentrating on film, so she sometimes brings movies for us to watch that I would never even have heard about. One such movie is Safe.
Safe is not everyone’s kind of entertainment. I think most people would be bored out of their skulls watching this. It is something like what we might expect to see if the anti-violence-in-entertainment advocates actually got their way. There is almost no aggression in the film. Almost everyone talks pleasantly and is concerned with others’ welfare. They are careful not to offend anyone. The only outward anger I recall is by woman who feels her safety being threatened. So there is little real “action” in this movie.
Safe (1995) was written and directed by Todd Haynes and stars Julianne Moore. I never heard of any of the other actors. Safe depicts the descent of a woman whose health spirals downward as she tries to protect herself from our toxic environment. I believe the point of the film is that society’s current obsession with creating a safe life is the true danger.
And I certainly second that motion. This is what the anti-bully crusade is trying to accomplish in our schools: create an environment for them that is “safe from bullying”. The anti-bully policies are concerned not with safety from knives, guns, and drugs, but from name-calling, social rejection, offensive gestures, rumors, and cyberbullying; in other words, anything that can make anyone feel bad.
What we are really trying to protect our children from is real life. As though sparing them the necessity of learning how to deal with people who aren’t saints is going to prepare them for the future. As the movie shows, the “cure” can be worse than the “illness”.