Story

Carol White (Julianne Moore) is a mousy housewife living the affluent life in the San Fernando Valley when, over the span of a few months, she begins to develop debilitating sensitivities to her environment. A permanent at the hair salon makes her nose bleed and her skin go bad, exhaust from a truck causes her to cough violently, she's allergic to the new couch, goes into seizures at the dry cleaner's. No one understands or credits her condition, least of all her husband or family physician. But the symptoms worsen, and Carol eventually discovers others who suffer from similar environmental illnesses. She checks into a desert spa that caters to those in her predicament, and the staff regales her with touchy-feely, infomercial-style affirmations. All of this could have been broad satire, but director Todd Haynes (Velvet Goldmine) opts for a filming style that captures the empty elegance of Carol's passive lifestyle and looks on with clinical dispassion, so that you can hear the oppressive quiet surrounding her. It's positively eerie, so you know you're not watching just a worthy cause picture or movie of the week. Haynes has more ambition than that, even going so far as to insert a slight buzzing sound in the soundtrack to accentuate the unease. Fluorescent lights? Power lines? Who knows? Maybe it's safe to call it the ominous rumblings beneath the surface of Carol's life, from antiseptic affluence to septic isolation in the spa environment. A model of sustained tone, boasting one of the most remarkable performances by Julianne Moore, from a whole career of remarkable performances. --Jim Gay

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen

Cast

Julianne MooreCarol White
Xander BerkeleyGreg White
Dean NorrisMover
Jodie MarkellAnita
Susan NormanLinda
Chauncey LeopardiRory
Steven GilbornDr. Hubbard
James Le GrosChris

  • Genre: Drama Movies
  • Director: Todd Haynes
  • Producer: Columbia/Tri-Star
  • Length: 119 min
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaJun 30, 1995
    EuropeApr 26, 1996
    JapanMar 13, 1999
    AustraliaMay 6, 2004
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
    Europe15
    AustraliaM
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaAug 21, 2001
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