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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
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Popularity
4,994 ( 565)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 102 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

Flowers don't bloom outdoors in Connecticut in February, nor do trees flower in early March. See more »

Quotes

David Whitaker: Aw, geez!
Cathy Whitaker: We don't use language like that in this house.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Miracle in the Rain (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Traditional Scottish 17th century music
Played by a band on New Year's Eve
See more »

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User Reviews

Works on several levels (though some better than others)
28 February 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Cathy and Frank are a society couple in 1950's Connecticut. Their perfect house, perfect kids and happy marriage all contribute to making them the toast of the middle classes. However Frank's secret desire for men wrecks Cathy's image of their marriage but they manage to keep it a secret and seek help. When Cathy confides in her black gardener the rumours begin that again threaten Cathy's all-American society queen existence.

It helps when writing a review of a film like this that you can throw round all the right references and draw comparison's wit the two Sirk films from which Haynes drew inspiration from. Sadly I can't do that as I haven't seen either of the works (although have seen some Sirk films), so I'll do the best I can! From the outset this film builds a plastic perfect 50's world before revealing that everything isn't as the outside world (and even those on the inside) may perceive. This works well but the film is strong because it works on several other levels past this one.

Past the fake nature of lives – we are all human after all – are several other broader themes that are not as clear but still important. The place of women is society is one – where Frank's indiscretion appears to still let him work etc, Cathy much smaller crime sees her condemned from all around. Her relationship with Raymond shows how women held social status only as trophies in some circles and, when this role was threatened or made redundant, they had little more standing that blacks etc.

The two fallings of Frank and Cathy are parallel and it is interesting to see the two. Frank stigma that he must hide is one of sexuality while Cathy is less lucky in that her stigma is as clear to observers as the skin on Raymond's face. This is not to say that the film works as well on each of these levels, but it does work well enough on all of them. It is slow and patient and it may frustrate some audiences who will claim `nothing really happens' – if a review says this then ignore it – they have clearly missed the point.

The 50's feel is bang on and very well done. I'm not sure if Haynes has lifted the touches that make it feel `50's' from Sirk directly (i.e. copied) but it really works. The colours are lush and every set and costume feel like it must be straight from the 50's. It is to Haynes credit that he has done this without being camp or wistful in the way that many films set in the period can be. He plays it straight down the line.

The cast are roundly good. Moore deversedly got her nomination for this work and she is excellent. She never goes over the top but is visibly simmering throughout. Quaid is good but has a less complex character to carry, we don't get to understand what he is going through or felling – is it deep guilt, lust, love etc? Haysbert in 24 is OK but plays a stiff, morally righteous man who is so `good' as to be difficult to swallow! Here it is not quite as bad but Raymond is still a ` good, wholesome' man. Haysbert does him well but again I wanted more to the character. The support cast are good and all play the plastic socialites and professionals of 1950's well.

Overall this film is very lush – nothing but praise can be given to director, costumes and set designers etc. The cast are all good even if they must act with decorum and patience throughout and the emotion and drama of the story (although stilted and controlled) is still very involving. A very good film – if it had been made in the 50's it would be held as a classic today.


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