Drawing by Dave Gomshay

| Dave Gomshay |

Safe screens at the Trylon Cinema on Thursday, April 29 at 7 pm. Chosen by long-time Trylon volunteer Dave Gomshay, the film is part of our Volunteer Programmers series. To purchase tickets or learn more about this screening, visit our website at

Safe had a huge impact on me when I first saw it during its 1995 release. It screened at the recently opened Lagoon Cinema, and I distinctly remember just sitting there, kinda dazed and shaken as the end credits rolled, rather than hopping up and rushing out of the theater as I usually did. Turns out it was the perfect movie for me at that time in my life; I needed to see it and it left me kind of broken up in all the best ways. I hope you are all left similarly discombobulated after watching Safe at the Trylon on July 29.

Safe presents one of the most visceral depictions of the actual experience of anxiety and illness that you’ll find in any film. The mystery of why the meek and people-pleasing Carol White (sympathetically embodied by Julianne Moore) has suddenly become acutely allergic to seemingly everything around her might never be answered to your satisfaction, but all the questions you’re left pondering are posed in such a provocative manner that it doesn’t really matter. By design, you’re never quite sure where writer/director Todd Haynes is taking Carol and the viewer, and this generates a compelling atmosphere of ENCROACHING MENACE and EXISTENTIAL DREAD, building to a TOTALLY BLEAK (but totally appropriate) conclusion. And yes, I mean all of this as praise!

It’s crazy that this was only Todd Haynes’ second feature. His direction is so controlled, his style so vivid, his set pieces so masterfully composed. Julianne Moore––also early in her career––offers a chilling, heartbreaking performance––one of her absolute best. If award shows offered a subcategory of Best Acting that recognized Outstanding Achievement in Onscreen Hyperventilation, she’d get my vote. I’m not familiar with any other of Peter Friedman’s acting roles, but his portrayal of an unctuous and grossly self-absorbed New Age health guru is so distressingly pitch perfect that it’s earned him a top spot on my current list of Top 5 Movie Characters I Would Most Like To Punch In Real Life. And, hey, there’s that great character actor and independent film stalwart James LeGros, providing brief but welcome relief as a gentle and light-hearted new friend to Carol late in the film amidst a host of otherwise condescending loved ones, exasperated doctors, and overconfident “experts.” 

Safe is a horror movie about our chemical-laden, compromised environment, a harrowing case study of a sheltered naif’s bewildering breakdown, and a dark satire of both American affluence and vacuous self-help fads that turn the practitioners into the agents of their own suffering. Safe is so MUCH. I’m psyched to settle in at the Trylon with folks who will come to this timely classic for the first time as well as returning viewers who are willing to wallow in discomfort once again. Hooray!

***Bonus Content***


     Though onscreen for less than thirty seconds, appearing far in the distance and without any lines of dialogue whatsoever, the character of Lester quickly became the breakout fan favorite when Safe debuted. With his enigmatic charisma and stylish “hyperaller-chic” fashion sense, Lester captured the imagination of viewers and led many to ask, “How can I make that look work for me?” Here are the ingredients and steps that will unlock YOUR inner Lester:


  • (1) Fencing mask, new or used, preferably with silver or white mesh
  • (1) Balaclava, black, extra large
  • (1) Long-sleeved shirt, light blue 
  • (1) Short-sleeved shirt, white with several green, mahogany, and black stripes. It will likely be difficult to find a shirt that exactly matches the design of the one worn in the film, so just do your best.
  • (1) Pair of fingerless gloves, black
  • (1) Pair of finger-having gloves, white, tight-fitting
  • (1) Pair of sweatpants, white, not too baggy but not too tight
  • (1) Pair of tube socks, black
  • (1) Pair of hiking boots, red


  1. Put on the sweatpants.
  2. Put on the long-sleeved shirt, and put the short-sleeved shirt on top of that.
  3. Put on the tube socks and tuck the ends of the sweatpants into the top of the socks.
  4. Put on the hiking boots.
  5. Put on the finger-having gloves, and on top of them put on the fingerless gloves.
  6. Put on the fencing mask.
  7. Put on the balaclava over the fencing mask, being careful not to stretch it out too much but leaving enough room for your mesh-masked face to show through.

Ta-da! You are Lester! To really wow your admirers, practice your posture and gait so as to mimic Lester’s signature style. It is suggested you imagine you are a newborn fawn trying to walk on its hind legs like a human. Good luck, and be SAFE!

Edited by Michelle Baroody

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