7.4/10
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383 user 185 critic

Far from Heaven (2002)

PG-13 | | Drama | 10 January 2003 (USA)
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In 1950s Connecticut, a housewife faces a marital crisis and mounting racial tensions in the outside world.

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 101 wins & 91 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Cathy Whitaker
... Frank Whitaker
... Raymond Deagan
... Eleanor Fine
... Sybil
... Dr. Bowman
Bette Henritze ... Mrs. Leacock
... Stan Fine
... David Whitaker
... Janice Whitaker
... Sarah Deagan (as Jordan Puryear)
Kyle Timothy Smith ... Billy Hutchinson (as Kyle Smyth)
... Mona Lauder
... Doreen
Olivia Birkelund ... Nancy
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Storyline

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 <jonas.reinartz@web.de>

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Taglines:

It's time to stop hiding from the truth. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements, sexual content, brief violence and language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

10 January 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dem Himmel so fern  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$211,279, 10 November 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$15,854,988, 6 April 2003
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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Due to Julianne Moore's pregnancy, Sandy Powell commissioned a duplicate of Cathy's party dress, with the pattern modified to fit her, after shooting of the party scene was pushed back to later in the schedule. However, due to budget constraints, duplicating the dress was not an option. The dress was carefully shaded by a member of the wardrobe department to disguise Moore's pregnancy. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie it is nearly spring, but you can see autumn leaves on the railroad track. See more »

Quotes

Cathy Whitaker: Oh, Raymond, Mrs. Whitaker sounds so formal! Won't you please... ask me to dance?
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Crazy Credits

The first end credit reads "for Bompi" See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: The Best Films of 2002 (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Eagan's Jukebox
Composed by Max Avery Lichtenstein (as Max Lichtenstein)
Performed by Camphor
Courtesy of Tin Drum Recordings
Published by Departure Music Publishing (ASCAP)
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User Reviews

Welcome Back to the Fifties
8 November 2002 | by See all my reviews

Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid effectively inhabit their roles in "Far From Heaven," an engrossing flashback to an affluent northeastern suburb, Hartford CT in 1957-8. Quaid is Frank Whitaker, top sales exec in a company meeting the voracious needs of American consumers for the latest in gadgets and appliances. His wife, Cathy, is so much the high profile model for the typical stay-at-home, support your hubby, take care of the kids mom that she is shadowed by the local gossip reporter and her photographer. She thinks she has the perfect marriage and two terrific if not invariably best behaved kids. Both, however, are too interesting to be mistaken as a large screen resurrection of a 50s sitcom couple.

Cathy can't catch the clue when she bails Frank out of the police station and he mutters angrily about the arresting officers mistaking him for a "loiterer." A loiterer in a neat business suit with a topcoat in Hartford? Only one kind of well-dressed character like that attracted police attention in those days.

Dispensing good cheer everywhere, Cathy decides to bring dinner to her hardworking-at-night husband (no spoiler here, every media review has this part). And what should she find? Frank is in the arms of a man, kissing him actually, clothing in disarray.

Today, a presumably straight spouse or lover being gay, secretly, isn't a taboo subject. It was in Cathy and Frank's time and, in fact, no movie from that period would have touched this subject with a ten-foot boom mike. "An Affair to Remember" was risque enough.

Cathy insists Frank get help and James Rebhorn in a brief role as psychiatrist Dr. Bowman explains the most modern therapeutic approaches to "converting" Frank to exclusive heterosexuality. This was in the days when homosexuality was an official diagnosed mental illness.

In what could have been a familiar variation of the white/black awkward beginnings of friendship seen in Sidney Poitier movies but which in this instance has a refreshing originality, Cathy befriends gardener Raymond Deagan (Dennis Haysbert). An attractive and prominent white woman being seen in public with a black man in the South at this time would have led to probably horrific repercussions. Here we get to see 1950s racist northern suburbia, people who decry Arkansas obduracy (there's a brief shot of President Eisenhower on TV announcing the despatch of the 101st Airborne Division to confront the state's mad governor at Little Rock High School) while dispensing their own venom. No guns, no lynchings, no white sheets - just an insidious degradation of blacks, reducing them to actual invisibility when convenient.

The friendship between Cathy and Raymond is at first tentative and it grows with affecting tenderness. So does the shocked anger of the wealthy gaggle in Frank and Cathy's social circle.

Is Frank cured of his "illness?" Does racial tolerance and respect for diversity seep into Hartford's tony neighborhood? Does everyone live happily ever after? Go see the film. The mid-afternoon packed audience in Manhattan's Lincoln Plaza Cinema broke into applause at the end.

Viola Davies turns in a small but critically important role as the Whitaker's maid, Sybil. Fine acting.

Director Todd Haynes allowed Moore and Quaid to make their roles real, involving, and anguished and funny in turn. Both stars deserve Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.

Rooted in the 50s in many ways, composer Elmer Bernstein turned out a good score, original rather than depending on recognizable tunes from the time. But as is so often the case, at points the score is unduly intrusive where the actors' words and expressions convey all that is necessary, music being an annoyance.

8/10.


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