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Far From Heaven

Far From Heaven

79% Liked It
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Far From Heaven

Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert, Patricia Clarkson, Viola Davis

It is the fall of 1957. The Whitakers, the very picture of a suburban family, make their home in Hartford, Connecticut. Their daily existences are characterized by carefully observed family etiquette,... read more read more... social events, and an overall desire to keep up with the Joneses. Cathy Whitaker is the homemaker, wife and mother. Frank Whitaker is the breadwinner, husband and father. Together they have the perfect '50s life: healthy kids and social prominence. Then one night, Cathy discovers her husband's secret life and her tidy, insular world starts spinning out of control. Fearing the consequences of revealing her pain and confusion to anyone in her own social circle, she finds unexpected comfort and friendship with her African-American gardener, Raymond Deagan. Cathy's interactions with Raymond; her best friend Eleanor Fine; and her maid, Sybil, reflects the upheaval in her life. Cathy is faced with choices that spur gossip within the community, and change several lives forever.

Id: 10896060

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Recent Reviews

  • fb223580
    September 14, 2012
    I can't help but think that Mad Men took some of its inspiration from this piece. Interracial romances and homosexuality were so much more salacious when they were taboo...
  • July 30, 2012
    Todd Haynes is known for his subversion of styles and formats with his work, and with this film, he takes aim at the look and feel of classic 1950s Hollywood melodramas, particularly of the Douglas Sirk variety.

    This is the story of a seemingly idealic lead by housewife Cathy Wh... read moreitaker and her corporate ladder climbing husband Frank. Their lives seem perfect, and to their friends in neighbors in Hartford, they are truly the stand up citizens of the community.

    However, this is far from the case beneath the surface of things, and the majority of the film is dedicated to focusing on the effect of when the imperfections of their lives start to break through the surface, and, in line with Haynes's trademarks, the major issues that are focused on here include alienation/isolation, and homosexuality. And, since the film is set in the 1950s, race and class are focused on, too.

    The specific story might not be the strongest aspect of things, but it's still really solid, compelling, and well done. The film does lose some steam in the third act, and overall it is rather inconsistent tonally, but that's pretty muchc my only complaints. The technical side of things is absolutely brilliant. Not only does this film capture the era of the 50s with the look, feel, styles, period details, and attitudes, but it reflects the films of that era as well. This is an absolutely gorgeous looking picture, with some of the most expressive cinematography I've seen in a while, with much of the lighting and colors reminding me of Kubrick. Elmer Bernstein provided the music, and it was one of his final scores, if not the complete last. It's maybe a bit overwrought and a tad too melodramatic at times, but nonetheless gorgeous and fitting.

    This film also swings for the fences where the performances are concerned. Quaid's not in it that much, but he makes the most of his screen time, and gives one of the best performances of his career. Moore really owns the screen here, and this is some of her most beautifuly nuanced work. It's memorable, though not as idiosyncratically so as her most unforgettable roles. Haysbert takes what could have been a one note role and breathes life, depth, and subtelty into it, and it is also one of his standout turns.

    All in all, this is a successful film. It accomplished its mission wonderfully, and even got to add some edge to it given that it came out in a less restrictive era than the one its emulating and portraying. I've mentioned it's flaws, but even with them the film is a nice piece of work that's thoughtful, enjoyable, and worth discussing.
  • July 26, 2012
    21/08/2010 (TELEVISION)

    I had nothing better to do and happened to catch this on TV. Good thing I did, I really got soaked into it and began to be concerned while the story continued to unleash the darkness.

    It's around the 1950's, so the whole interracial thing is a "BIG NO N... read moreO" along with homosexuality. A story that tells us how it was and how it usually ended which in reality is not always good sadly.

    The world was so black and white at one stage and full of prejudice and "false righteousness". Though truthful and sad it's a decent enough flick for having a glimpse of the world before now.
  • May 8, 2012
    Fifties era social prejudices are exposed when a husband reveals his homosexuality while his wife falls for their African American gardener.
    Juxtaposing prejudices race and sexuality could produce a winning social critique, but by the end of this film, I don't know what the film ... read moreis really saying. After all, the abuses faced by the two "others" in this film don't lead to a one-to-one comparison. In fact, turning the homosexual into the perpetrator of racial prejudice muddles the film's message.
    I hate Julianne Moore; this film is no different, and Dennis Haysbert plays Deegan just like his Allstate commercials. And the music is overwrought, always instructing us how to feel about the film's events. Finally, the cliched fifties housewife doesn't ascend beyond her cliche strictures despite the extraordinary nature of the film's events.
    Overall, Far from Heaven is an interesting idea for a film, but there's too much in the way of poor execution.
  • February 5, 2010
    Far From Heaven is a beautiful and fascinating story of Julian Morre as a 50s 'perfect world' suburban housewife watching her marriage fall apart and falling in love with her gardener. This film captures the mood and style of the 50's era, conservative, charming, niaive and deepl... read morey divided. A film that will remain a classic.
  • October 14, 2009
    "What imprisons desires of the heart?"

    In 1950s Connecticut, a housewife faces a marital crisis and mounting racial tensions in the outside world.


    Filmmaker Todd Haynes' valentine to 195... read more0s melodramatic maestro auteur Douglas Sirk outdoes himself in grand style in the depiction of a Connecticut family's sudden downward spiral circa 1957 focusing on Cathy Whitaker (Moore in a sterling performance of Oscar caliber), a happy homemaker doting on her family and tv sales exec husband Frank (Quaid at his career best) who are both living lives of lies that threaten to destroy their seemingly blissful carefree existence in their all-too-knowing community. Haysbert as the local greens keeper hired by Cathy is also compellingly excellent in a sublime form of acting as the seemingly lone black man in a town of intolerance prickling beneath its calm demeanor. The exquisitely rich cinematography and production design by Edward Lachman and Mark Friedberg, respectively, convey the bristling darkness at the corners of paradise via suburbia with its rich autumnal palette suggesting a metaphor for the film as a whole: color changes everything. Kudos to elder statesman musical composer Elmer Bernstein's heartbreakingly poignant score underscoring the nightmare at hand. One of 2002's best films.
  • fb619846742
    April 27, 2009
    A very heartfelt, original look on some very controversial issues that seem completely out of place for the simplistic culture of the 1950's. This film surprised me, it tackles a lot of topics, and it features many twists that I didn't see coming. Not only does this period-piece ... read morestay true to its setting, but it's able to detail its rough subjects with relative ease. Moore is a revelation, her and Quaid look like they were born for these roles. Dennis Haysbert gives an extremely strong, understated performance that nearly steals the show (he has a habit for doing this, see "24"). This is a romance film that will keep you interested til the end, until it rips your heart out in its final scene.
  • January 26, 2008
    Very good movie that is worth watching. Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid shine in this dramatic story of a seemingly perfect family in 1950's CT. Even a "picture perfect" family is open to all the same issues that everyonr faces and more.
  • September 17, 2007
    It's a shame that Far From Heaven's third act lags as much as it does, because its first hour is downright stunning. It grabs your attention with some lavish, lovingly-constructed set design and camera work - Todd Haynes is a true master of image on film. The beauty is inorganic,... read more but never fake; it almost reminded me of Suspiria, strangely enough, with the bleeding colors and dark sets. Once the movie has sway over you visually, it reels you in for the catch with fantastic dialogue, great scene work and a handful of really strong performances.

    Julianne Moore is perfect all the way through. Her performance is metered and informative, but considering that she's acting in a melodrama homage, she never really breaks character. Almost right off the bat, you get a read on Cathy - she is outwardly conventional, but full of surprises. A woman who is almost, but not quite, ready to enact change in the world around her.

    Far From Heaven makes a lot of interesting statements, but for the movie to truly have been great, it needed to finish them as well. A previous Todd Haynes film, Safe, had a very similar ending. Though we get a good idea of where the main character is going to end up, her true fate is left up to speculation. This is a very different movie from Safe, however; it is much more expository, and that approach simply doesn't work as well here. It's not that I'm anti-ambiguity, but it really would have behooved the movie to wrap things up a little more.

    Had Todd Haynes infused a few more ideas into the twilight hours of Far From Heaven, it would have been a much stronger film. As it is, though, it is still worth watching: a vivid and often brilliant homage to both 50s melodrama and the woe-begotten values of the past.
  • July 16, 2007
    A good movie, but talk about SLOW! Stick with it, though - the story is like a train coming down the tracks, wobbling more and more drastically from side to side, and eventually, it will derail. You come to realize that instead of idylls, these characters are more like grotesques.

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