The main difference is that Haynes' 50s melodrama is more explicit (perhaps even a little too unsubtle at times) in showcasing the cracks that begin to appear in the highly stylized and artificial world Sirk is known for. Haynes uses the same tools — lightning techniques and color palettes — to shed light on the underbelly of American suburbia. What happens to those who don't fit the mold?
The queering of Sirk! Great homage: Technically rigorous; at times cinematically exhilarating... And nearly - but not entirely - as engaging as the real thing. There's that Moore's Cathy is notably ditzier than Wyman's Cary... But more than that, there's a distancing meta-artifice that comes with imitating 50s melodrama; imitations of imitations of life - w/out the corresponding extra depth. A+ exercise, B- film. 3.5
[Possible spoiler] --- I love how the black man is portrayed here. He has feelings, he enjoys music, he appreciates art, he takes care of his daughter on his own and he works. Very different from the gangster-ish looking guy with a ready-to-shoot-you-dead attitude. Here we see a different side that exists in many men out there and that includes black men. Turns out this is my favourite character in this film!
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.
Mrs. Moore with a graceful performance; an alluring cinematography; perfection in detail; incredible amount of aesthetics! However, Messrs Quaid & Haysbert can't match Moore because they can't convincingly enough put across the emaotional states of their characters. Mr. Hayes touches the issues of homosexuality & racism & interracial love but too shallow. The drama-effect therefore lacks & emotions come up short.
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.
Julianne Moore has truly embodied a woman of the 50s. Todd Haynes and his superb attention to detail in capturing the 50s is nothing short of amazing. It genuinely looked and felt like that period. The sets, the costumes, how they talked. You forget its a film released in 2002. Its absolutely mind-blowing! It's a terrific film with very real and relevant issues. Haynes is a genius with his outstanding actors.
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.