Far From HeavenDirector: Todd Haynes
Maverick director Todd Haynes embraces the look and feel of classic Hollywood melodramas of the 1950s in this period drama. Cathy Whitaker (Julianne Moore) and her husband Frank (Dennis Quaid) are a seemingly perfect couple; living in a handsome suburban neighborhood in Hartford, CT in 1957, Cathy and Frank have a beautiful home and two happy, healthy children, while Frank pursues a successful career in sales and Cathy cares for the home. But Cathy has begun to sense something isn't quite right in her marriage, as Frank begins working late, spending less time with her, and seems cold and distant. One day, Cathy visits Frank's work and discovers something she never expected -- her husband is kissing a man. At Cathy's urging, Frank undergoes psychotherapy, but as she tries to keep up a brave face, the emotional trauma takes a great toll on her, and she finds there are very few people she can talk with. Cathy strikes up a friendship with Raymond Deagan (Dennis Haysbert), an African-American gardener who works for the Whitakers, and as she discovers how intelligent and compassionate Raymond is, she finds herself drawn to him. However, Hartford is in many ways still a small town, and when Mona (Celia Weston) sees Cathy and Raymond alone together, it sets off a wave of vicious gossip that threatens to make the Whitakers' many secrets public knowledge. Far From Heaven premiered at the 2002 Venice Film Festival, where Julianne Moore's performance won the prize for Best Actress.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Universal Studios
Cast & Crew
|Julianne Moore||Cathy Whitaker|
|Dennis Quaid||Frank Whitaker|
|Dennis Haysbert||Raymond Deagan|
|Patricia Clarkson||Eleonor Fine|
|James Rebhorn||Dr. Bowman|
|Celia Weston||Mona Lauder|
|Elmer Bernstein||Score Composer|
|Tim Bird||Asst. Director|
|Ellen Christiansen||Set Decoration/Design|
|George Clooney||Executive Producer|
|Mark Friedberg||Production Designer|
|Drew Kunin||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Sandy Powell||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Eric Robison||Executive Producer|
|Peter Rogness||Art Director|
|John Sloss||Executive Producer|
|Steven Soderbergh||Executive Producer|
|John Wells||Executive Producer|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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The movie was elegantly and movingly crafted to evoke the bittersweet memory of a bygone era and its hidden social turmoil. Even through the remnants of those long ago years have passed, still the lesson remain the same. True love is a gift from the creator. To demean it, cage it, debase it, or denied it in anyway makes of us bereft of our humanity.
One of the most gorgeous, evocative, and stunningly beautiful films I've ever seen in my life. Julianne Moore, the best actress of her generation, is a vision. By far the best performance of the year, if not the decade.
This film is beyond human limits in so many ways it's almost inexpressable. The beautiful technical feats (Art Direction;Costume Design). The incomparable musical score. But what really get's you is the acting. Julianne Moore's performance is the best I've ever seen by an actress.
Okay! I know I'm going to catch flack for this one, but the 'genius' of 50's melodrama director, Douglas Sirk, has always escaped me. There, I said it. 'Far From Heaven' is director, Todd Haynes attempt at emulating 'Sirk'. In that respect, the film succeeds. It is riddled with lush photography and set in the 1950's - which helps. But as a film of today, it miserably flops. Like Sirk's 'Written on the Wind', 'Far From Heaven' concerns a dutiful wife, Kathy (on this occasion played by Julianne Moore) who discovers that her husband, Frank (Dennis Quaid) is not all that he appears to be. And like Sirk's 'Imitation of Life' there is a hint of tempered racial tension and interracial romance (between Raymond [Dennis Haysbert] and Kathy) that sneaks into the proceedings. But if anything, 'Far from Heaven' proves that you can't go back to the well twice - as it were - and relive the past without being compared and judged inferior to it. Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid aren't very engaging as a couple and the racial undertones are played from a safe distance. Director, Todd Haynes' photography is too lush, at times appearing as garishly cartoonish - something that Sirk was never guilty of - and the plot, such as it is, seems better suited for a segment on 'General Hospital' than mainstream Hollywood film-making. Ironically, it was Sirk's influence through films like 'Written on the Wind' that paved the way for television to take its cue and cultivate the soap opera on the small screen. In retrospect, that premise works. The other way around ¿ it¿s an embarrassment. Besides, 'Far from Heaven' plays it safe at every turn, eschewing biases and bigotry and ending on a very postmodern unhappy note that Sirk would never have approved of. The transfer perfectly captures Haynes' intent. Colors are rich, vibrant and nicely balanced. Black and contrast levels are accurately rendered. There is a considerable amount of edge enhancement and some shimmering of fine details. No pixelization though. The soundtrack is 5.1 and adequately rendered. The extras include a very self-congratulatory featurette in which Hayne's explains how he did Douglas Sirk one better. Like Attenborough's remake of 'Miracle on 34th Street' or Van Sant's shot for shot remake of 'Psycho' - it simply can't be done! I wish Hollywood would realize this.