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FAR FROM HEAVEN is a 2002 American drama film written and directed by Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
, and starring Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
, Dennis Quaid , Dennis Haysbert and Patricia Clarkson . It premiered at the Venice Film Festiva l, where Moore won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress
Volpi Cup for Best Actress
and cinematographer Edward Lachman won a prize for Outstanding Individual Contribution.

The film tells the story of Cathy Whitaker, a 1950s housewife, living in wealthy suburban Connecticut
Connecticut
as she sees her seemingly perfect life begin to fall apart. Haynes pays homage to the films of Douglas Sirk (especially 1955's All That Heaven Allows
All That Heaven Allows
and 1959's Imitation of Life ) and explores race , gender roles , sexual orientation and class in the context of 1950s America .

CONTENTS

* 1 Plot * 2 Cast

* 3 Themes & Analysis

* 3.1 Miscegenation
Miscegenation
and Racism * 3.2 Homosexuality and Escapism * 3.3 Mise-en-scène and Cinematography

* 4 Reception * 5 Awards and honors * 6 Soundtrack * 7 Musical adaptation * 8 See also * 9 References * 10 External links

PLOT

In 1957
1957
suburban Connecticut
Connecticut
, Cathy Whitaker appears to be the perfect wife, mother, and homemaker . Cathy is married to Frank, a successful executive at Magnatech, a company selling television advertising. One evening Cathy receives a phone call from the local police who are holding her husband. He says it's all a mix up but they won't let him leave alone. Frank has in fact been exploring the underground world of gay bars in Hartford, Connecticut. One day, Cathy spies an unknown black man walking through her yard. He turns out to be Raymond Deagan, the son of Cathy's late gardener.

Frank often finds himself forced to stay late at the office, swamped with work. One night when Frank is working late, Cathy decides to bring his dinner to him at the office. She walks in on him passionately kissing another man. Frank confesses having had "problems" as a young man, and agrees to sign up for conversion therapy . However, his relationship with Cathy is irreparably strained, and he turns to alcohol .

Cathy runs into Raymond at a local art show, and initiates a discussion with him about modern painting, to the consternation of a few onlookers. One night, after a party, Frank attempts to make love to Cathy. He is unable to become aroused and strikes Cathy when she tries to console him.

Cathy decides to spend a day with Raymond. They go to a bar in the black neighborhood in which she is the only white person present. Raymond toasts her with a drink saying "Here's to being the only one". They are seen together by one of Cathy's neighbors, who immediately tells everyone. The town is soon ablaze with gossip about the two of them. This becomes evident when Cathy attends a ballet performance by her young daughter and the mothers of the other girls prevent them from socializing with Cathy's daughter. Cathy's husband is also furious. Cathy goes to find Raymond to tell them that their friendship isn't "plausible."

Over the Christmas and New Year's holidays, Cathy goes on a vacation with her husband to Miami
Miami
to take their minds off of things. At the hotel, Frank has another sexual encounter with a young man.

Back in Hartford, three white boys taunt and assault Raymond's daughter, Sarah. Frank tells Cathy that he has found a man who loves him and wants to be with him and seeks a divorce from Cathy. When Cathy eventually finds out that the victim of the attack was Raymond's daughter, Sarah, she goes to the Deagan home to find them packing up in preparation to move to Baltimore
Baltimore
. Ever since the incident, he's been getting rocks thrown in his windows, as the African American community is not taking the mixing well. At one point when he addresses her as "Mrs. Whitaker", she begs him to call her Cathy. She suggests they can be together now that she is to be single. Raymond declines, saying "I've learned my lesson about mixing the two worlds." Ultimately, Cathy goes to the train station to see Raymond off and say her silent goodbye to him, waving to him as the train moves out of the station.

CAST

* Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
as Cathy Whitaker * Dennis Quaid as Frank Whitaker * Dennis Haysbert
Dennis Haysbert
as Raymond Deagan * Patricia Clarkson as Eleanor Fine * Viola Davis as Sybil * James Rebhorn
James Rebhorn
as Dr. Bowman * Michael Gaston as Stan Fine * Celia Weston as Mona Lauder * Barbara Garrick as Doreen * Bette Henritze as Mrs. Leacock * June Squibb as Elderly Woman * Ryan Ward as David Whitaker * Lindsay Andretta as Janice Whitaker * Jordan Puryear as Sarah Deagan * J.B. Adams as Morris Farnsworth * Olivia Birkelund as Nancy

Haynes wrote the script envisioning Moore and James Gandolfini
James Gandolfini
as Cathy and Frank, respectively. While Moore joined the project immediately, Gandolfini was unavailable due to The Sopranos . Haynes' next choice, Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe
, believed that the role was too small, and Jeff Bridges wanted too much money.

THEMES and “contamination” in turn signifies the underlying fear of miscegenation. The camera moves between Cathy’s point-of-view looking out at the pool, and then the camera turns and focuses directly on Cathy so that she becomes the object of the gaze. Her eyes remain half-hidden behind sunglasses, which act as shield and mirror. As the unfolding action is miniaturized and reflected—indeed, doubled—on Cathy’s lenses, the message is that this drama turns back on Cathy, illustrating in a rather didactic manner the futility of her desire for Raymond, a black man. The emphasis on parenting here, with a black father and white mother “saving” and disciplining their respective children, further emphasizes the undercurrent of segregation as policing the boundaries of racial reproduction."

HOMOSEXUALITY AND ESCAPISM

Frank Whitaker's tribulations with his sexuality is no doubt one of the more pivotal thematic story elements within Far From Heaven, as it sets in motion a series of events in the film that ultimately culminate in not only the estrangement of his wife, but the inevitable failure of his marriage. Characterized as the reliable husband, the successful hardworking businessman, the charming spouse, and the devoted father, he is idealized in a way that assigns him so many demanding roles, it is almost as if he is driven to pursue his homosexual tendencies as a means to escape his taxing everyday life, releasing his burden and frustration. We witness this early on in the film in his office job at Magnatech, with lunch meetings and dinner meetings piling up his schedule as portfolio season is well underway and his New York office continues to push up deadlines. Much like Cathy, Frank too falls short of his highly exalted reputation, and as he is exploring Hartford one evening, avoiding returning home by taking in a movie, he soon finds himself walking the streets, delving further into the seedy underbelly of Hartford nightlife where he hopes to find what he is looking for. It is when he notices what appears to be two gay men walking into a basement bar that he finally acts on his impulses and begins the slippery slope of self gratification that ultimately comes to dominate his lifestyle. It is through these humble beginnings that we come to explore with Frank the subversive and hushed nature of the gay community as he begins to act on his desires.

Mitra Moin writes in her essay, Far From Heaven and Carol: Channeling 1950s Melodrama,

"The 1950s is a time of constraining expectations; everyone is expected to lead perfect suburban lives, and those that deviate are socially condemned. Haynes sets this up in Far From Heaven, where Cathy appears to have a model life: two children, a successful husband, and a suburban home. She is a typical housewife, admired by others: “Women just like yourself, with families and homes to keep up." This is dismantled in the premise, when Cathy receives a call from the police station regarding her husband. Beauty and perfection, here, are forms of oppression. The props are also important to observe as symbols of the 1950s: the television manifests the suburban prosperity that characterizes the time period. Cathy must adhere to the narrow and confining gender roles of the 1950s, just as Frank must suppress his homosexual desires. These characters, disillusioned in their seemingly flawless worlds, ultimately find these symbols as oppressive."

Likewise with Cathy, who finds an escape through her relationship with Raymond, we begin to see her act on her impulses as well, taking us further into the bigoted, prejudiced nature of upper class Hartford society. When Cathy is discovered in her yard by Raymond crying in the aftermath of Eleanor observing the physical abuse Frank has inflicted upon her, their relationship becomes even closer, and so he extends to her an invitation for a day in the country in an effort to take her mind off her worries, which she ultimately accepts graciously. This invitation however sets in motion a series of events that culminates in a romantic evening between the two, which is inadvertently observed by Mona Lauder, a woman whose gossip is notorious for spreading like wildfire. It is through her prejudiced tittle-tattle that Cathy soon finds herself not only with her reputation besmirched, but even her friends and loved ones disgusted with her behavior, in a way however that mirrors Frank's experiences. With Frank revealing his affair to Cathy, effectively ending their marriage, Cathy shares in a similar experience when she reveals her attraction for Raymond to Eleanor, and is summarily rejected, just as she had rejected Frank, mirroring these experiences and exposing the subtle dichotomy between their respective vices. Rebecca Sherr also notes from her essay,

"The “mirroring” technique occurs several times and is a visual clue as to the parallels the film draws between interracial romance and homosexuality. The two instances of “coming out” in Far from Heaven produce different narrative trajectories, and the mediating factor of racial difference accounts for these divergent outcomes. This difference in outcome is based in the notion of visibility—racial difference cannot usually be hidden. The film communicates that heterosexual, interracial desire could, in a sense, be seen as even more “queer” than homosexuality, at least in the context of queerness as visible deviance."

Although Cathy finds herself isolated in the end of the film, a divorcée fallen from grace who now devotes her life to her children and her volunteer work for organizations such as the NAACP , she still however possesses feelings for Raymond that while are now held back, dominate the subtext of the ending of the film without ever needing either character to utter a single word in their silent tear wrenching farewell. Todd McGowen observes of both Cathy and Frank in Relocating Our Enjoyment of the 1950s: The Politics of Fantasy in Far From Heaven, "The point here is not that they enjoy in spite of the widespread disapproval; it is instead that this disapproval enables and fuels their enjoyment. Their time together has the significance it does precisely because the social prohibition does not permit it."

MISE-EN-SCèNE AND CINEMATOGRAPHY

According to the DVD director\'s commentary Far from Heaven
Far from Heaven
is made in the style of many 1950s films, notably those of Douglas Sirk . Haynes created color palettes for every scene in the film and was careful and particular in his choices. Haynes emphasizes experience with color in such scenes as one in which Cathy, Eleanor, and their friends are all dressed in reds, oranges, yellows, browns, and greens. Haynes also plays with the color green, using it to light forbidden and mysterious scenes. He employs this effect both in the scene in which Frank visits a gay bar and when Cathy goes to the restaurant in a predominantly black neighborhood.

Blue is also a prominent color depicting Frank and Cathy's failing marriage, as highlighted in both the beginning of the film as Cathy receives a phone call for Hartford police concerning Frank and his "loitering", and as tensions rise to a boiling point when Frank makes his first visit to a psychiatrist to try and curb his homosexual tendencies. It is in the moment where the only profanity in the entire film is used by Frank towards Cathy, further demonstrating the cold and bitterness Frank harbors towards her, perfectly in sync with the color palette that envelops them during this scene.

Scott Higgins writes in his work, Orange and Blue, Desire and Loss: The Colour Score in Far From Heaven,

"Generally, we can isolate two strategies of colour design in Far From Heaven. On one hand, Haynes makes straightforward and adroit use of classical convention in a fairly subtle and un-ironic way. On the other hand, moments of strong stylisation reveal a self-consciousness of form that announces its artifice. The film's articulation of an autumnal orange motif exemplifies how Haynes reawakens dormant Hollywood conventions in a rather delicate expressive manner. The more overt manipulation of coloured lighting, however, offers a test case. Red and green lighting broadcasts its artifice and its reference to Sirk, activating an awareness of form that Haynes nonetheless manages to align with our sympathy for his characters. In his extensive use of blue light, though, Haynes exploits conventional motivations and the melodrama's generic tendency towards stylisation to exact a sincere and direct affective charge from colour temperature, in much the way filmmakers had done between the late 1930s and 1960s. His project of self-conscious reference may, in fact, open room for Haynes to renew the classical convention in an emotionally direct way. It is this play between citation and invocation of colour scoring that makes Far From Heaven so compelling."

Haynes also uses shots and angles that would have been standard in Sirk's films and era. Cinematographer Edward Lachman created the 1950s "look" with the same type of lighting techniques and lighting equipment (incandescent ), and employs lens filters that would have been used in a 1950s-era melodrama . The script employs over-the-top, melodramatic dialogue, and Elmer Bernstein's score is reminiscent of those he had composed 40 and 50 years earlier. The sound, done by Kelley Baker, also uses a lot of foley to make more prominent the sound of rustling clothes and loud footsteps, a sound technique that was used more in 1950s-era film.

In the commentary, Haynes notes that he was also influenced by Rainer Werner Fassbinder 's film Ali: Fear Eats the Soul . As in Fassbinder's film, in Far from Heaven
Far from Heaven
Haynes portrays feelings of alienation and awkwardness. For example, instead of cutting to the next scene, Haynes sometimes lingers on a character for a few seconds longer than comfortable to the viewer, the same technique used by Fassbinder.

Another feature is when Cathy drives her car through town. Rather than filming inside the car as it actually moves, the car is filmed still with artificial backgrounds seen through the windows, reminiscent of older films. On the DVD commentary, Haynes states that one of these scenes re-uses the artificial background first used in a scene from All That Heaven Allows
All That Heaven Allows
.

RECEPTION

Far from Heaven
Far from Heaven
has received high acclaim from critics since release. It holds a 87% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes , based on 212 reviews, with an average rating of 8.1/10. The critical consensus states: "An exquisitely designed and performed melodrama, Far From Heaven earns its viewers' tears with sincerity and intelligence." The film was nominated for four Academy Awards : for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Julianne Moore), Best Original Screenplay (Todd Haynes), Best Cinematography (Edward Lachman), and Best Original Score (Elmer Bernstein). At the Venice Film Festiva l, the film was nominated for the Golden Lion , while Moore won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress
Volpi Cup for Best Actress
and Lachman won a prize for Outstanding Individual Contribution.

As an example of the film's favorable reception among critics, Cole Smithey wrote that the "contrast of gritty dramatic material against an idealized — read fascistic — social atmosphere, makes for an enthralling movie experience." Jonathan Rosenbaum named the film a masterpiece, and considers it a companion of Haynes' Safe (1995) in its use of "the same talented actress to explore suburban alienation in comparably gargantuan consumerist surroundings."

They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?, a website which gathers various critics' polls, finds Far from Heaven
Far from Heaven
to be the 26th most acclaimed film of the 21st century.

In August of that same year, BBC
BBC
Magazine conducted a poll on the 21st century's 100 greatest films so far, with Far from Heaven
Far from Heaven
ranking at number 86.

AWARDS AND HONORS

The film did extraordinarily well in the Village Voice\'s Film Critics\' Poll of 2002, where Far from Heaven
Far from Heaven
won for best picture, Moore for best lead performance and Haynes for best director and best original screenplay. Lachman's work in Far from Heaven
Far from Heaven
also won best cinematography by a wide margin while Quaid, Clarkson, and Haysbert were all recognized for their supporting performances, placing second, fourth and ninth, respectively.

YEAR CEREMONY CATEGORY RECIPIENTS RESULT

2002 7th Satellite Awards Best Film - Drama Far From Heaven Won

Best Director Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Won

Best Actress - Drama Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Nominated

Best Supporting Actor - Drama Dennis Haysbert
Dennis Haysbert
Won

Dennis Quaid Nominated

Best Screenplay - Original Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Nominated

Best Cinematography Edward Lachman Nominated

8th Critics\' Choice Awards Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Won

9th Screen Actors Guild Awards Best Female Actor in a Leading Role Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Nominated

Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role Dennis Quaid Nominated

18th Independent Spirit Awards Best Feature Far From Heaven Won

Best Director Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Won

Best Female Lead Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Won

Best Supporting Male Dennis Quaid Won

Best Cinematography Edward Lachman Won

60th Golden Globe Awards
60th Golden Globe Awards
Best Actress - Drama Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Nominated

Best Supporting Actor Dennis Quaid Nominated

Best Screenplay Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Nominated

Best Original Score Elmer Bernstein Nominated

75th Academy Awards
75th Academy Awards
Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Nominated

Best Original Screenplay Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Nominated

Best Cinematography Edward Lachman Nominated

Best Original Score Elmer Bernstein Nominated

2002 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Picture Far From Heaven Nominated

Best Director Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Nominated

Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Won

Best Cinematography Edward Lachman Won

Best Music Score Elmer Bernstein Won

Best Production Design Mark Friedberg Nominated

2002 National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Supporting Actress Patricia Clarkson Won

Best Cinematography Edward Lachman Won

2002 New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Film Far From Heaven Won

Best Director Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Won

Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Nominated

Best Supporting Actor Dennis Quaid Won

Best Supporting Actress Patricia Clarkson Won

Best Cinematography Edward Lachman Won

Boston Society of Film Critics Awards 2002 Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Nominated

Best Cinematography Edward Lachman Won

Chicago Film Critics Association Awards 2002 Best Film Far From Heaven Won

Best Director Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Won

Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Won

Best Supporting Actor Dennis Quaid Won

Best Cinematography Edward Lachman Won

Best Original Score Elmer Bernstein Won

Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards 2002 Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Won

Best Cinematography Edward Lachman Won

Florida Film Critics Circle Awards 2002 Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Won

Best Cinematography Edward Lachman Won

Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards 2002 Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Won

National Board of Review Awards 2002 Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Won

Online Film Critics Society Awards 2002 Best Picture Far From Heaven Nominated

Best Director Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Nominated

Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Won

Best Supporting Actor Dennis Quaid Won

Best Original Screenplay Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Won

Best Cinematography Edward Lachman Won

Best Original Score Elmer Bernstein Won

Best Art Direction Peter Rogness Ellen Christiansen Won

Best Costume Design Sandy Powell Won

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards 2002 Best Film Far From Heaven Nominated

Best Director Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Won

Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Won

Best Supporting Actor Dennis Quaid Nominated

Best Screenplay - Original Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Won

Best Cinematography Edward Lachman Nominated

Best Original Score Elmer Bernstein Won

Best Production Design Peter Rogness Ellen Christiansen Nominated

Best Costume Design Sandy Powell Nominated

San Diego Film Critics Society Awards 2002 Best Film Far From Heaven Won

Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Won

San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards 2002 Best Director Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Won

Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards 2002 Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Won

Best Screenplay - Original Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Won

Toronto Film Critics Association Awards 2002 Best Director Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Nominated

Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Won

Best Supporting Actor Dennis Quaid Nominated

Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards 2002 Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Won

59th Venice International Film Festival Golden Lion Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Nominated

Volpi Cup for Best Actress
Volpi Cup for Best Actress
Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Won

Outstanding Individual Contribution (cinematography) Edward Lachman Won

Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards 2002 Best Actress Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Won

Best Supporting Actor Dennis Haysbert
Dennis Haysbert
Won

Writers Guild of America Awards 2002 Best Original Screenplay Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes
Nominated

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

* 2005: AFI\'s 100 Years of Film Scores – Nominated

SOUNDTRACK

Far from Heaven
Far from Heaven
was the last film scored by Elmer Bernstein . The album's runtime is 42 minutes and 53 seconds.

* "Autumn in Connecticut" – 3:08 * "Mother Love" – 0:42 * "Evening Rest" – 1:52 * "Walking Through Town" – 1:49 * "Proof" – 1:01 * "The F Word" – 1:11 * "Party" – 0:55 * "Hit" – 2:42 * "Crying" – 1:11 * "Turning Point" – 4:46 * "Cathy and Raymond Dance" – 2:02 * "Disapproval" – 1:00 * "Walk Away" – 2:34 * "Orlando" – 0:56 * "Back to Basics" – 1:47 * "Stones" – 1:44 * "Revelation and Decision" – 4:21 * "Remembrance" – 1:56 * "More Pain" – 4:04 * "Transition" – 0:55 * "Beginnings" – 2:17

MUSICAL ADAPTATION

Main article: Far from Heaven (musical)

Theatrical songwriting team Scott Frankel and Michael Korie worked with Richard Greenberg on an Off Broadway-bound musical adaptation. The musical opened at Playwrights Horizons in Spring of 2013. Kelli O\'Hara starred in the central role.

SEE ALSO

* Queer Cinema
Queer Cinema
* Douglas Sirk

REFERENCES

* ^ "FAR FROM HEAVEN (12A)". Entertainment Film Distributors . British Board of Film Classification . November 8, 2002. Retrieved August 17, 2013. * ^ A B Far from Heaven
Far from Heaven
at Box Office Mojo * ^ Vachon, Christine and Austin Bunn. A Killer Life Simon and Schuster, 2006. * ^ A B C D E F Scherr, Rebecca (Spring 2008). "(Not) queering "white vision" in Far from Heaven
Far from Heaven
and Transamerica". Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media. No. 50. * ^ A B C D Todd, McGowan (2007). "Relocating Our Enjoyment of the 1950s: The Politics of Fantasy in Far From Heaven". In James, Morrison. The Cinema of Todd Haynes: All That Heaven Allows. Directors' Cuts. Great Britain: Wallflower Press. pp. 114–121. ISBN 1-904764-78-9 . * ^ A B C D E F G H I J Moin, Mitra (August 2016). "Far From Heaven and Carol: Channeling 1950s Melodrama". Off Screen. 20 (7). * ^ A B C D Higgins, Scott (2007). "Orange and Blue, Desire and Loss: The Colour Score in Far From Heaven". In Morrison, James. The Cinema of Todd Haynes: All That Heaven Allows. Directors' Cuts. Great Britain: Wallflower Press. pp. 101–113. ISBN 1-904764-78-9 . * ^ A B C D E Far from Heaven
Far from Heaven
DVD commentary track * ^ Smithey, Cole (14 April 2013). " Far from Heaven
Far from Heaven
— Classic Film Pick". Cole Smithey: The Smartest Film Critic in the World. Retrieved 2 February 2015. * ^ Rosenbaum, Jonathan (22 November 2002). "Magnificent Repression ". Chicago Reader . Retrieved 2 February 2015. * ^ "TSPDT - 21st Century (Full List)". They Shoot Pictures, Don't They. Retrieved January 8, 2016. * ^ " BBC
BBC
- Culture - The 21st Century\'s 100 greatest films". BBC Magazine. August 23, 2016. Retrieved August 28, 2016. * ^ Village Voice, January 1, 2003 * ^ "AFI\'s 100 Years of Film Scores Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-06. * ^ Playbill.com, February 14, 2012

EXTERNAL LINKS

* Far from Heaven
Far from Heaven
on IMDb * Far from Heaven
Far from Heaven
at Box Office Mojo *

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