Entertainment » Movies

Far From Heaven

by Sam Cohen
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Mar 19, 2019
Far From Heaven

The Douglas Sirk-directed technicolor melodramas from the 1950s, like "Imitation of Life" and "All That Heaven Allows" gave a top-tier filmmaker the opportunity to cut through social and cultural injustices using the structure and framework of a genre that audiences were flocking to see at the time.

Rarely have current directors been able to rise to the occasion of Sirk's ability to showcase American culture using a mirror. Director/writer Todd Haynes is one of the filmmakers that wasn't only able to riff on Sirk, he was able to speak to current social norms using his own idiosyncratic voice. Such is the beauty of the 2002 Julianne Moore-starring drama "Far from Heaven."

While the film was rightfully acclaimed by the Academy Awards with nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Original Score, Haynes was unjustly snubbed. The importance of the Academy Awards varies on which person you're asking, especially given this year's hullabaloo. Haynes is the kind of director, like Sirk, who is able to use the structure and framework of the current model for dramas as a way to touch on issues our society still deems to be taboo. In "Far from Heaven," a 1950s Connecticut housewife Cathy Whitaker (Julianne Moore) is faced with a marital crisis and her own burgeoning feelings for her black gardener, Raymond Deagan (Dennis Haysbert). As is par for the course with that era, the small town that Cathy and her husband live in don't look kindly on folks who aren't white, thus the eternal conflict of choosing love or giving into hate.

One thing that Haynes excels at with "Far from Heaven" is that he's able to show that such a story not only reverberates into today's current political climate, but it shows that we are still far away from racial equality as we were in the 1950s. Ignorance and bigotry tend to hide in the places we frequent - the places we've come to trust and visit. While Cathy and Raymond's love is almost guaranteed to end in heartbreak because of the social climate in that era, that doesn't stop the two characters from going with what their hearts say is right. Such is love. Such is life. Love can be a form of rebellion.

With a new Blu-ray by Kino Lorber and their Studio Classics label, "Far from Heaven" gets the audio and visual release it has always deserved. With plenty of special features in tow, this is a must-own for fans of the film and of Todd Haynes.

Special features include:

Audio Commentary with Director Todd Haynes
The Making of "Far From Heaven"
Anatomy of a Scene featurette
A Filmmaker's Experience with Julianne Moore and Todd Haynes
Theatrical Trailer

"Far from Heaven"
Kino Lorber Blu-ray


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