In 1984, British journalist Arthur Stuart investigates the career of 1970s glam superstar Brian Slade, who was heavily influenced in his early years by hard-living and rebellious American singer Curt Wild.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers,
Another dazzling suburban phantasm from writer-director Todd Haynes, Dottie Gets Spanked (made post-Poison and pre-Safe) is a stylized, bittersweet nod to his childhood fascination with I ... See full summary »
J. Evan Bonifant,
Cathy is the perfect 50s housewife, living the perfect 50s life: healthy kids, successful husband, social prominence. Then one night she stumbles in on her husband Frank, kissing another man, and her tidy world starts spinning out of control. In her confusion and grief, she finds consolation in the friendship of their African-American gardener, Raymond - a socially taboo relationship that leads to the further disintegration of life as she knew it. Despite Cathy and Frank's struggle to keep their marriage afloat, the reality of his homosexuality and her feelings for Raymond open a painful, if more honest, chapter in their lives.Written by
Jonas A. Reinartz <email@example.com>
That was the day I stopped believing in the wild ardor of things. Perhaps in love, as well. That kind of love. The love in books and films. The love that tells us to abandon our lives and plans, all for one brief touch of Venus. So often we fail at that kind of love. The world just seems too fragile a place for it. And of every other kind, life remains full. Perhaps it's just we who are too fragile.
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Far From Heaven has been explained as a "woman's film," and a "surefire tear jerker," but in fact it's intended for the kind of woman who would cry at the sight of a washing machine that wobbles a bit during its spin cycle.
Todd Haynes has lovingly perfected the surface of this film with the skill of a master mortician. However, beneath its perfect surface, it's equally dead. All of Haynes' energy has gone towards recreating the details and trappings of a past era of (let's face it) relatively minor film making, and there's no energy left to imbue the characters with power, believability or any trace of interior life. Therefore, Kathleen can utter ridiculous lines some "ice please" after she's just been belted by her husband and, without losing her pasted-on smile for a second, can make chirpy little jokes about her husband's disgustingly ugly drunken behavior at the party that she has spent most of the film (and perhaps most of her life) planning. As game as Moore's acting is, her character is like a windup doll.
Quaid's part is even worse. Although I like him as an actor, he has no clue how to portray the inner conflict of a gay man trapped in a suburban marriage, trapped in the 1950's. For someone who feels "despicable," he somehow has no difficulty ogling a cute blond kid in full public view -- in front of both his own wife and the kid's parents. And though he's already been caught by both the police and his wife in flagrante delicto, he has no problem getting it on with the blond boy in his hotel room while his wife reads Cosmo by the poolside (we don't see this happen, but it's clearly implied). This is simply ridiculous.
Dennis Haysbert's character is forced (by the script) into similarly disingenuous behavior. We're expected to believe that he's a Miro scholar/botanist/MBA and man about about town, yet he somehow thinks he could bring a whiter-than-white upper class woman into a "negro" blues bar and the patrons would be "really friendly"? And he's surprised when his fellow Blacks shower him with the same one-dimensional hatred that all of Kathleen's friends shower upon her?
Haynes seems to view the 50's as if they occurred 1000 years ago; the characters seem not so much as from a different time as from a different species. The result: a potential story of tremendous personal conflict and suffering ends up a curiously uninvolving pastiche, although one in Amazing Living Technicolor. This is perhaps the only film ever made in which the leaves are more alive than the characters.
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