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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.

Director:

Todd Haynes

Writer:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Julianne Moore ... Cathy Whitaker
Dennis Quaid ... Frank Whitaker
Dennis Haysbert ... Raymond Deagan
Patricia Clarkson ... Eleanor Fine
Viola Davis ... Sybil
James Rebhorn ... Dr. Bowman
Bette Henritze Bette Henritze ... Mrs. Leacock
Michael Gaston ... Stan Fine
Ryan Ward ... David Whitaker
Lindsay Andretta ... Janice Whitaker
Jordan Nia Elizabeth ... Sarah Deagan (as Jordan Puryear)
Kyle Timothy Smith Kyle Timothy Smith ... Billy Hutchinson (as Kyle Smyth)
Celia Weston ... Mona Lauder
Barbara Garrick ... Doreen
Olivia Birkelund 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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What lies beneath the surface? What hides behind the walls? What imprisons desires of the heart? See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 January 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dem Himmel so fern See more »

Filming Locations:

Oakland, New Jersey, USA See more »

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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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Todd Haynes wrote the role of Cathy Whitaker specifically for Julianne Moore. See more »

Goofs

The Tupperware container Cathy brings to Frank's office is post 1962 color and style. See more »

Quotes

Frank Whitaker: I just want to get this fucking thing over with!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Imitation of Life (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Ballet Piece
Written by Cynthia Millar
Published by Caramandel Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very Close to Heaven
11 January 2003 | by GodsLionesseSee all my reviews

Todd Haynes' Far From Heaven, a homage to the 1950s melodramas of Douglas Sirk, is an exquisitely crafted film of beauty and grace. The world that Haynes creates is so meticulously detailed that one almost forgets that the movie isn't fifty years old.

Julianne Moore deserves an Academy Award for her portrayal of Cathy Whitaker, a homemaker whose idyllic life begins to disintegrate when she learns that her husband is gay. Moore's Cathy is a delicate woman who would like to be courageous, but can't be because of the world that she is trapped in. As her innocence begins to die, she realizes how empty and superficial her life is. When she begins a cautious romance with her black gardener (Dennis Haysbert) she begins to see the racism and hypocrisy that forms the underbelly of a seemingly perfect world. At the end of the film Cathy has no illusions, and realizes that the life that she thought was perfect is actually a never-ending hell.

Dennis Quaid is equally stunning as Cathy's tortured husband Frank. After Cathy discovers his homosexuality, the two are forced to grapple with a truth that neither of them can comprehend. Frank goes to a doctor for "treatment," and his confession is heartbreaking. He says that he "can't let this thing, this sickness, destroy my life. I'm going to beat this thing." We look at Frank and pity him because we realize that such a feat is impossible, and unnecessary, but Frank does not possess that knowledge. Frank begins to drink more, and when he finally breaks down and tells Cathy that he has fallen in love with another man, all of the anger, shame, and joy comes pouring out of him all at once. It is a supremely moving moment, and the best performance of Quaid has ever given.

As the marriage between Cathy and Frank begins to unravel, the two also begin to fight. All of Cathy and Frank's arguments and confessions take place at night, bathed in shadows. The truth has no place in this bright, artificial world, and it must stay hidden at all costs. One night, when Frank tries to make love to Cathy and can't, Cathy tries to placate him, saying that he is "all man" to her. At that remark Frank hits her, and for a moment the audience does not breathe. Cathy then asks quietly for her husband to get her some ice. Cathy is all restraints, and it is only with her kind gardener that she has a chance to break free. The scenes between Moore and Haysbert crackle with erotic energy because everything remains unsaid. When Cathy finally asks him to dance with her, it is a moment when we realize what human beings are capable of being together.

The fourth example of stellar acting comes from Patricia Clarkson as Cathy's best friend Eleanor. Eleanor is a bitter, gossipy, cold-hearted woman, and when she tells Cathy "I am your best friend," you want to scream to Cathy not to believe her. Clarkson makes the most of her rather limited screen time, and turns in a fascinatingly layered performance.

Far From Heaven may very well be the best picture of the year. In creating an artificial world, Todd Haynes has managed to lay bare the human soul in a way that has never been done before. It is a moving and important motion picture, populated with some of the most nuanced acting I have ever seen. Cathy and Frank Whitiker may be far from heaven, but the film comes about as close to heaven as is possible.


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