by Ken B.
Todd Haynes was born in 1961, but Far From Heaven flows with the kind of filmmaking style that mostly died around that time. It’s set in the 1950s, it plays like a movie from the 1950s – specifically, the melodramas of Douglas Sirk, such as All That Heaven Allows. In an Academy Award-nominated performance, Julianne Moore portrays Cathy Whitaker, a New England housewife. With her husband Frank (Dennis Quaid), an ad executive, and their children, they occupy what seems to be a stress-less lifestyle. But because this is a movie, there must be a conflict, and this is where the movie spins off into a cannonball of tackling social issues. Cathy discovers her husband is gay – and being 1957, there is a therapist with promises to “cure” him of his homosexuality. In the midst of this she meets Raymond, (Dennis Haysbert) a black neighbor. This being a suburban community, it is immediately assumed Cathy is having an affair with Raymond, and an interracial relationship in 1957 is unheard of, adding to Cathy’s shaking family life. Haynes’ script employs purposefully stilted dialogue, to represent the melodramatic pieces that originated from the era of which his film is set. The cinematography and set design bring a warm atmosphere, but also a dramatic undertone. Far From Heaven is a deeply emotional film, highlighted by excellent performances from our cast.