A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
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FAR FROM HEAVEN
2002 - Todd Haynes - United States / France
13

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Todd Haynes 2002 film, Far From Heaven, is bold and involving. There is no question about the influences here: the 1950s Technicolor melodramas by Douglas Sirk (most notably All That Heaven Allows). Sirk is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers so it is a joy watching one of my current favorite filmmakers reimagine Sirk's vision. Aside from capturing the look, emotions, sounds, feelings, and period details of the era, Haynes is essentially making the film has if it were the 1950s. What results is a work that that is not only deeply respectful of it's inspirations, but also gives more complex examination and in many ways is perhaps more authentic and more socially important. Todd Haynes has made a 1950s film without holding back the restrictions those films did at the time. Julianne Moore's performance is amazing. It's as if Moore (and the viewer) lose themselves in the character. Everything we see becomes and feels real. The supporting cast is equally wonderful, lead by the always reliable Dennis Quaid and Patricia Clarkson. This is a film of human feelings and behavior. It is a love story of two lost souls who relationship is doomed by a society and behavior of ignorance and hatred. The films greatest strength lies in the beautiful photography. The colors are so refreshing and it's as if they help tell the story without feeling staged. From the opening crane shot through the fall leaves, Far From Heaven is a flawless film of visual imagery. Every detail is finely designs from colors, locations, sets, and costumes. But above all this is a film of masterful compositions, which (like the themes of the film) hold endless layers and depth beneath the surface. There is such richness and patterned texture within every frame of the composition, which captured the expression of the film (often without the need of dialogue). This is filmmaking at it's most visually complex and artistic. The emotional style may seem a bit to melodramatic and dated to some viewers, which sadly discredits the bold intellect of the filmmaking here. Those that appreciate the glorious cinematography, fine detailed sets and costumes, haunting score, and flawless directing and acting, will see it for what it is: A completely respectful, authentic and sometimes painful look at what life was really like back in "the good old days" that in so many ways really weren't all that great! Bottom line: a masterpiece film that will hit on all visual and emotion levels.
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