December 09, 2002
Stairway to Heaven
I love movies from the '50's. I love technicolor and Edith Head and the days when all your movie heroes wore a coat & tie. So, as you might guess, I have a very special place in my heart for the new film by writer/director Todd Haynes, Far From Heaven. Intended as a deconstruction of 50's melodramas like Imitation of Life or Peyton Place or pretty much any movie by Douglas Sirk, Far From Heaven follows the travails of a perfect, June Cleaver-esque housewife (Julianne Moore) in 1950's Hartford, CT, who catches her business executive husband (Dennis Quaid) in the arms of another man. And the only person she can talk to about this without being ostracized is her somewhat naive, grossly overqualified, and very Black gardner (Dennis Haysbert, also known as President David Palmer on Fox's 24). Beyond the fact that this is one of the most lush, vibrate, and beautiful stories put on film in quite a while, it's also wrenching as you watch these lives completely disintegrate before your eyes. Oscar-worthy? I"m not sure. But it's DEFINITELY noteworthy. There's a real love for filmmaking that just pervades every aspect of this movie. Check it out.