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,
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I agree with all the comments about the excellent production values and acting in this movie. But the scripting and direction were both problematic.
For the most part, the movie tries to recreate a '50s Technocolor women's picture. At times, giggling about sex, a curse or the way Quaid sidles into a gay bar reminds you that this isn't your mother's '50s melodrama.
While so much of the movie is understated, I found the treatment of racism to be overstated, at least for the north.
I was born in 1957, so I can't say "I was there so I remember." Certainly, the smirky remarks at Kathy's party were heard for years beyond 1957, even in the north. And segregation was very much a fact of life; I lived in a lily-white suburb where it was well-known that real estate agents wouldn't show houses to black people (this, fortunately, stopped in the '70s).
I can even believe the overreaction of Kathy's friends to her apparent involvement with Raymond. It was the public expression of racism, particularly the scene where a white man calls Raymond "boy" that seemed really out-of-place for the time and place.
Haynes might have made the movie a little more interesting would have been if Kathy assumes people will shun and talk about her if she gets involved with Raymond - if most of the "melodrama" was internal. In reality, while they might talk about her behind her back, it seems unlikely that everyone she knew would have overreacted to the degree that they did.
Other problems - divorce was still hard to get in the late '50s; I don't think they could have gotten a divorce just months after Frank split. I can't imagine boys getting expelled for throwing a rock at a girl and hitting her, particularly since the act didn't happen during school hours. And, finally, how was Kathy's secure lifestyle being paid for by the end of the movie? She still has the house, the maid, the kids - earlier in the movie, she made it clear they had no savings. Most alimony grants were not that generous, and Frank now needs to support a separate household.
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