The first time that filmmaker Todd Haynes and Julianne Moore teamed up, in 1995’s ”Safe,” she played an affluent housewife debilitated by everyday toxins. And that’s pretty much the plight of Moore’s unhappy homemaker Cathy Whitaker in Far From Heaven, a perfectly judged homage to Douglas Sirk’s 1950s melodramas (among them ”All That Heaven Allows”) that plays just fine as a slice of ultramodern alienation for folks who’ve never seen those old chestnuts. No matter where Moore’s stifled matron turns for solace in her spiritually wretched suburban Connecticut life, she’s trapped. She can’t relate to her increasingly soused husband (Dennis Quaid) because he’s gay. She can’t strike up with her kindly gardener (”24”’s Dennis Haysbert) because he’s black. And as the walls, the town, and the camera close in on Cathy and her stunningly color-coordinated, fall-foliage-hued wardrobe, Moore gives a still, choked performance that breaks your heart – especially on a TV, where the intimate scale makes her look even more trapped by the frame. Claustrophobia of the soul never felt so magnificently sad.
(Far from Heaven: David Lee)
Genre: Drama; Starring: Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Patricia Clarkson, Dennis Haysbert, Viola Davis; Director: Todd Haynes; Author: Todd Haynes; Producer (person): Steven Soderbergh, John Wells; Runtime (in minutes): 107; MPAA Rating: PG-13; Distributor: USA Films
Posted April 1 2003 — 12:00 AM EST
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