Quick Review: Far From Heaven (2002, Todd Haynes)

90c254b1-5f66-4c07-886a-1f86972b9196_625x352RATING: 7/10

Director: Todd Haynes
Cast: Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Patricia Clarkson, Dennis Haysbert, Viola Davis
Screenplay: Todd Haynes

Synopsis: Cathy Whitaker’s (Julianne Moore) life is turned upside down when she learns of her husbands homosexuality and starts developing feelings for an African-American man in 1950s America.

Quick Thoughts:

1. It’s true, I’m always so nostalgic when it comes to 1950s dramas, but “Far From Heaven” did not get the high score I was expecting to give it. True, 7 is a really great score, because the movie isn’t bad at all, but it felt like it was lacking something that I just can’t put my finger on.

2. I wasn’t a fan of the dissolve shots used by Todd Haynes. Maybe it’s a way of bringing back 1950s cinematography, but for me it just didn’t work. It is in fact a modern day movie, and the film wasn’t experimental or a weird art house film, so the dissolving shots felt rather contrived and it didn’t help with the pacing of the film. It’s such a shame because the imagery was so beautiful. Haynes and his cinematographer was able to capture a very pretty 1950s suburb.

3. Julianne Moore was good. She wasn’t as breathtaking as I expected her to be, but still one of the best female turns in that particular year. I wouldn’t say I’d give her the Best Actress win though, because there were in fact better performances that year. Plus, her performance in “The Hours” (also a 1950s housewife) that same year is far more superior. She had many great moments though and she carried the film well.

4. Dennis Quaid was so-s0 but the rest of the supporting cast was good. Especially Patricia Clarkson, who never fails to make her numerous supporting roles feel like they are much more. She expands the performances handed to her to something more human and memorable.

5. I loved the score, but most especially the costumes used in the film. In 1950s dramas, it’s very typical to have the same looking costumes (poodleskirts, sweaters etc.) but what really sets “Fat From Heaven” apart is the wonderful colour palette that costume designer Sandy Powell had chosen. I observed that she choose particular colors per season, and autumn (which most of the movie is set in) has such breathtaking colours. Her uses of green, orange, red and brown in the costumes didn’t only bring autumn to life but was spectacular to look at.


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