2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Did I see the same movie?
A cinematic tribute to Douglas Sirk (if you don't know who he is, look him up), "Far From Heaven" was such a great film for me mainly because I had no idea what it was about when I rented it, then later bought it.
The colors are gorgeous, reminding me of "Spring Forward" another cinematic visually stunning film. But not only are the colors wonderful, the...
Published on Nov 25 2007 by J. Kress
3.0 out of 5 stars Kindly Pass the Emetic
For the first hour I thought this was an incredibly beautiful re-creation of an extinct genre. For the second hour I thought this was one of the worst films ever made. The unfortunate thing about this movie is that the glorious first hour is used as a launching point towards what amounts to an unending sermon about political correctness.
Twenty years or so ago a...
Published on July 19 2004 by Mr. Hasta Pasta
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Did I see the same movie?,
Ce commentaire est de: Far from Heaven [Import] (DVD)A cinematic tribute to Douglas Sirk (if you don't know who he is, look him up), "Far From Heaven" was such a great film for me mainly because I had no idea what it was about when I rented it, then later bought it.
The colors are gorgeous, reminding me of "Spring Forward" another cinematic visually stunning film. But not only are the colors wonderful, the costumes and decor are superb.
Scintillating and provocative, what makes this film really sing is the fact that it's set in the 1950s, looks like it was made then, but deals with race and homosexuality to such a degree that you find yourself looking at the casing, saying "How did I miss this one?" when all along it's a new movie.
The idea is brilliant, and it is ahead of its time, the way a lot of the films from the 1950s were, "Immitation of Life" comes to mind, though even that film was treated fairly softly.
"Far From Heaven" is a subtle film on the surface, but a brilliant one in depth. I invite anyone who doesn't like this film to see it again because, my friend, you're missing something special here.
Dennis Quaid gives the performance of his life, and the other actors come up to his level. I can't rate this highly enough. Also, see all of Douglas Sirk's movies, and anything with Edith Head costumes. Seriously, you'll love them all.
3.0 out of 5 stars Kindly Pass the Emetic,
Ce commentaire est de: Far from Heaven [Import] (DVD)For the first hour I thought this was an incredibly beautiful re-creation of an extinct genre. For the second hour I thought this was one of the worst films ever made. The unfortunate thing about this movie is that the glorious first hour is used as a launching point towards what amounts to an unending sermon about political correctness.
Twenty years or so ago a movie like this might have been regarded as cutting edge, and deservedly so. Now, it's just a sorry anachronism, in a double-sense of the word. It's an anachronism not only because it employs a dead genre. It's also OLD-FASHIONED because there have been so many films which have tackled these themes in infinitely more courageous ways. Nowadays, there's nothing daring or interesting about making a film like this. It's just incredily boring.
God, I hated this movie!
Then again, the movie also has my grudging admiration for patronizing, within the time-span of less two hours, three distinct demographical entities: heterosexual upper-middle class whites, blue collar blacks, and homosexuals.
Is there another movie in history that has managed to patronize all three sub-groups within the same film, and yet comes out saying nothing original? While I admit this is genius, it's not the sort of genius I generally admire.
5.0 out of 5 stars Life is Imperfect,
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Far from Heaven [Import] (DVD)Accompanied by an enchanting score, "Far From Heaven" features exemplary performances by Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid. Can life really be perfect for anyone? Even for Cathy Whitaker, who seems as if she is living the *perfect* life as a wife to a great husband and a mother to great children. Yet...behind every seemingly unblemished façade lie unrevealed secrets. When Cathy Whitaker's husband is revealed to have homosexual desires, what is she to do? When she develops romantic desires herself for a black gardener, as a white female, what is she to do? Both of the issues of homosexuality and interracial dating were forbidden topics in the 1950's - neither was considered "appropriate behavior." In that sense, this film is not only just about showing the imperfections life itself is composed of, but additionally it is a view of the societal values of that era. As for Cathy, what can she do? She knows that her husband, though he may try to "rid" himself of his homosexual feelings, may not return to her, and she knows that in her world, a romance between a white and a black will be considered unacceptable by both races. Sometimes, life doesn't exactly unfold as we may have planned for it to...and what can we do? 10/10. A.
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy to Enjoy, Impossible to Love,
Ce commentaire est de: Far from Heaven (Loin du Paradis) (DVD)An homage to the great melodramas of the 1950's, "Far From Heaven" accurately recaptures the look and feel of those films. But as an homage, it seems a bit over the top in its zeal to duplicate what has come before. While enjoyable, it is completely uninvolving and the collapse of a good woman's live is met with smiles instead of any kind of emotional involvement. Can see why it was a great critical hit, but a box office failure. Designed to appeal to film students (I was one) and critics.
4.0 out of 5 stars ANGELS IN WAITING,
Ce commentaire est de: Far from Heaven [Import] (DVD)Director Todd Haynes is to be commended in his approach to FAR FROM HEAVEN. A throwback to the 50's weepers like ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS, BACK STREET and IMITATION OF LIFE, he wisely chose not to parody or ridicule them; he lovingly made this movie in homage to those films. The cinematography is lush and gorgeous; Elmer Bernstein's score is appropriately romantic and melodramatic; it really looks like the fifties.
Julianne Moore's performance is letter perfect: she has the Susan Hayward/Lana Turner style down to a pat, but infuses it with a deep passion and strength. Many times her dialogue with her husband Frank and her children seems so Donna Reedish, but once we understand just how manipulated she has been, we can understand it. Only in her scenes with her gardener, Raymond, do we see the woman Moore could have been.
Dennis Quaid matches Moore's performance with his portrayal of Frank, the husband who is cheating on her---with other men. His internal anguish, guilt, and shame are hidden well at first, but when he breaks down, there is an honest gut-wrenching catharsis.
Dennis Haysbert plays Raymond, the gardener, who uses his quiet strength and empathy to show Moore the true meaning of friendship and love. Of course, in the fifties a romance for these two is unthinkable so we're left with a bittersweet resolution to this.
Rounding out the cast is Patricia Clarkson, who plays Moore's "closest and dearest friend" who is there for her when it comes to adjusting to life without Frank, but cannot tolerate the thought that Moore is having an affair with a black man.
So many reverse standards in this film: for instance, when Quaid hears rumors that his wife is messing around with Haysbert, he is furious...odd isn't it, that it's okay for him to break a sexual taboo, but not her.
FAR FROM HEAVEN doesn't have a crucial showdown scene, and the ending is pretty straightforward and dry, so it's not what one would call a happy ending.
Still, it's a very well made movie and Haynes and crew should be proud of this accomplishment.
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite.,
Ce commentaire est de: Far from Heaven [Import] (DVD)Todd Haynes's "Far From Heaven," a semi-replica of Douglas Sirk's classic 1954 "All That Heaven Allows," surpasses its predecessor with stunning grace. The film not only broadens the accusation of society's attitudes toward social issues (by adding the factors of homosexuality and interracial relationships), it also achieves something else very important from its audiences: empathy.
Suburban Connecticut, circa 1957. Cathy Whitaker (played by the impeccable Julianne Moore) has a seemingly perfect life until her husband, Frank (Dennis Quaid), struggles with his sexuality and she finds solace in her black gardener, Raymond Deagan (Dennis Haysbert). She must deal with her inner demons as she cares for her children, her friends, and her social status.
In the making of this film, director Haynes had choices to make: either to convert the melodramatic style of the original film into today's style of moviemaking and to touch upon the social issue with familiar revolutionary pretensions, or to retain the melodramatic style of filmmaking and to allow the film to make its own statement through the subtleties of its story. Haynes chose the latter, and it was a very wise choice.
The film is made in the style of a 1950s melodrama, but sincerely refrains from poking fun at the genre. The consistency of the exquisite cinematography by Edward Lachman and the magnificently emotional musical score by Elmer Bernstein are among the elements that beautifully add to Haynes's excellent screenplay. The true sincerity of the film, however, comes from an utterly brilliant performance by Julianne Moore, who is in practially every scene. Her purposefully stilted dialogue and seemingly fake emotion (which hit a sour note with some film critics) reflects the restrictions that are imposed by this particular genre, and they further offer a critique of the cultural expectations which the film sets out to expose. Subtleties such as this are constant throughout, and though there is no social impact present in the film's plot, the film manages to make a statement which is far more sincere than it would have been otherwise. A deeply moving masterpiece.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Disollusional Period,
Ce commentaire est de: Far From Heaven [Import] (VHS Tape)Postwar was enjoyed by the few that had the privilege to move to suburbia, get a good job, and raise a family. However, most people weren't able to enjoy the comforts of the new era. Discrimination, homophobia, racism, sexism, etc. existed but was shielded by false images of Dick and Jane with a white picket fence and the perfect mother and diligent yet handsome father. Cathy Whitaker, a Connecticut housewife, had the perfect life--a husband, two children, maids to take care of the household. Beneath the surface, she was forced to confront homosexuality and racial discrimination. Her husband was living a lie. Being seen with a black person was scandalous. Keeping up with appearances can be hard on the body, mind, and soul. Cathy went so far as to take her husband to a clinic to get treatment for his "condition".
Despite the fashion trends, housing opportunities and creation of jobs and inventions, the 1950s were nothing more than false appearances that racked people emotionally and physically.
This movie was good at covering segregation and homosexuality. People don't go outside of their world because of fear and ignorance. The combination of the two can hold us back.
5.0 out of 5 stars Todd Haynes is a hopeful promise,
Ce commentaire est de: Far from Heaven [Import] (DVD)The story is simple but haunting. A middle marriage. Connecticut.
Set in the fifties, Julianne Moore discovers the hidden secret sexual of his husband. The visual effects and the lights game are exquisite when she talks with him in the hall. The camera is not over them, but it gets far, in a obvious signal of discrete sense of intimity.
Haynes has surprised me in a positive way. The handle of the camera is elegant, fluid and never abuses about the close takes and either the close up.
The natural landscape is superbly photographed; and the story is told organical without any hole, with clever clues you slowly are discovering and finding all the details.
His style reminds me the influence of two great directors,the first one obviously is Douglas Sirk and the other one is Joseph Losey. The script is built following the classical structure of the soap melodrama, but its flowness and the articulation of smart secondary themes avoids falling that road.
The camera shows no mercy with the double moral in that neighborhood. The envy and bitter sights falls under the raising relationship with her gardener. Once more the racism phantom rises as a veil that surrounds and warns her friends.Remember the explicit sequence in the modern art musseum.
But the most remarkable aspect from this film is the way is told. It's an european approach, all along the story and specially remarked in that exquisite ending sequence.
I really expect great future works from this young film maker.
And obviously the support given by Mrs. Moore is first rate. She is one of the twenty top great actress in the world.
Watch this one. It will let you thinking for along, long time.
4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric drama; just wish it were longer,
Ce commentaire est de: Far from Heaven [Import] (DVD)This movie plays in the 50's and the atmosphere of that period is brilliantly portrayed. The exaggerated retro-font of the film title is already one indication, and consequently the screen is filled with old-timer cars, typical house interiors and much more that points to the 50's. Some might find the world Haynes creates more like a doll-house: the environment is almost too autumnal and the streetcars are too new. But he nevertheless manages to create a very striking sphere.
But it is the storyline and the characters above all that give this 50's-atmosphere. The -on first sight 'perfect'- couple of Cathy (Julianne Moore) and Frank Whitaker (Dennis Quaid) struggles with taboos from that era: Frank has a coming-out as homosexual, after which Cathy falls in love with the black gardener Raymond (Dennis Haysbert). Cathy discovers her husband kissing in a room with another man, and the mighty gossip circuit of the town soon tells Frank about the adventures of his wife. Not surprisingly, this situation results in trouble for their family.
There is a clear message about the morals of the 50's: Cathy's friends suddenly aren't very good friends anymore as soon as they hear about her friendship with a black person. Cathy herself clearly doesn't feel very much at ease between her friends, while she gets completely in her element when Raymond is nearby. This Raymond is an interesting character, if only because he is played by Dennis Haysbert. While he is here a simple black gardener who meets a lot of racism from his surrounding, the same actor plays the role of the first black president of the USA in '24'! Talk about changes! The character of Raymond may be a little too 'perfect', as others have already pointed out, but it contrasts nicely with the image of gutter rats that is attached to many people in Cathy's social environment.
The cast here does its job very nicely: Moore is great in her performance of a typical 50's woman who slowly becomes more adventurous and 'human'. She plays merely restrained, as if to make her role not too stereotypical. That certainly succeeded. Husband (in the movie) Quaid is another seemingly normal person with unexpected sides (his being gay) and is terrific as a tormented and desperate man. Haysbert makes a very convincing case as the sympathetic gardener, with his seemingly relaxed acting that makes his character Raymond almost cosy. Also, the gossip aunts are irritating to watch and that's exactly how they were meant.
Some could find the film a little too compact, and I certainly wish the director had taken more time to shed more light on the relationship between Raymond and Cathy. Same for the other relationship: Frank's gay mate is a bit cartoonish and this aspect could certainly have been worked out better. The film didn't leave me unsatisfied, far from it, but I think the story would have benefited from a broader, longer approach. But that criticism shouldn't keep you from seeing this very worthwhile and enduring movie. The sometimes 'implied' acting sheds a special light on the dramatic storyline and the atmosphere just breathes the 50's. Certainly recommended.
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Done,
By A Customer
Ce commentaire est de: Far from Heaven [Import] (DVD)A bit of a long drama, but the acting is captured well. Moore does a bang up job portraying happy housewife Mrs. Whittaker. I loved the quality of her staying formidable and solid in public while the turbulence is stoking beneath. She let s on to no one except her closest friends the types of problems that goes on in her household.
Dennis Quaid, just as brilliant, is supposed to play the archetypal solid father figure, but his character is very weak compared to his wife. This is personified in the end when he breaks down in front of his wife and children. Wife quickly takescontrol of the situaition and tries to return it normalcy.
What a worse time for a man and his wife to be more different than they know...which is the beauty of the film.
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Far from Heaven [Import] by Todd Haynes (DVD - 2003)
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