Todd Haynes presents a revisionist take on the paranoia thriller with this story of a Southern California housewife who suddenly falls victim to an inexplicable, apparently incurable illness. Carol White (Julianne Moore) lives with her husband and son in suburban comfort until she collapses one day, for no apparent reason. Her condition worsens in the weeks that follow, as she suffers from coughing fits, exhaustion, and spontaneous nose bleeds, triggered by sources as disparate as car exhaust, cologne, and the sun. Failing to find any medical explanation for her maladies, her doctor refers her to a psychiatrist, who suggests that her physical ailments are psychosomatic -- a theory echoed by her callous and increasingly frustrated husband. At her wits' end, Carol withdraws to an expensive New Age retreat for sufferers of 20th century disease, where the community's guru (Peter Friedman) champions a dubious regimen of diet, climate control, introspection, and self-love.
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