Todd Haynes’ homage to Douglas Sirk’s style of social critique by way of melodrama masterfully tells the story of a well-to-do suburban Connecticut couple in the 1950s, straitjacketed by convention, desperate to live the lives they really want.
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The attention to detail in this revisionist homage to Douglas Sirk is truly incredible. It's a capital D drama wrapped up in Todd Haynes' favorite themes—mainly alienation and disruptions to the status quo. Notice how Haynes uses the technology of cinema to convey emotion in ways a book could not, like the shifting color palettes, camera filters and shots that linger to the point of awkwardness.
This movie had some of my favorite elements - period setting, social commentary, queerness, and Julianne Moore - so it was hard to resist. Some of the dialogue, especially the son's, didn't work, but the dual tabus of the couple's sexual desires make for some compelling drama.
Much more than an homage to Sirk, Todd Haynes' meticulously crafted film takes us much further, to places where mid-century Hollywood films weren't permitted to go. Julianne Moore's performance is also much richer than the single-faceted form of acting that was prevalent in those days. Haynes is a formidable creative force; looking at his entire body of work going back to The Karen Carpenter Story, his dramas have a
The melodrama is here, present, but it's very true. The production design is incredible. I loved the performances; they are real but capture the aestetics of an homage. The music is very good and similar to the genre. Of everything, the editing is probably the weakest. It's the one element I feel did not manage to capture the style of the 50s melodrama.
Far From Heaven proves that the melodrama subgenre is dead by choice, not by lack of talent to make it. Every scene in Haynes' film explodes with cynicism, irresistible tension and utter disillusionment, a product of a crafted lens with attention to detail and extreme sensitivity to human emotion. The film soars with social commentary, understanding of the era and, of course, fantastic performances.
A profound exploration of the subversion of 50s Stepword Wives style artifice and the conflicted tales of housewives in a patriarchal, xenophobic suburbia. The cinematography reflects the dichotomy: a bright Technicolored veneer with shadowy cracks sporadically escaping through the surface.
However it takes a little while to get going, and one area where it doesn't successfully homage Sirk is in capturing his sense of perverse irony and dark comedy. However it's still one of the best films of the past decade. It's on Netflix instant and I highly recommend checking it out.