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December 29, 2002

Far From Heaven

Posted by Mike on December 29, 2002 12:32 AM

The common line is that this movie is a tribute of sorts, in particular to the domestic dramas of Douglas Sirk, none of which I've seen yet. After Far From Heaven, I suspect I'll be looking up Sirk's work for a reference point.

The GenX percpetion of the '50s is most informed by a sense of high camp. The '50s were the last sincere decade in the popular imagination, so in Far From Heaven, there's a temptation to poke fun of the '50s affectations of the family portrayed. There's plenty of "Aw... gee!" and "Mind your mother" going on. But the story assaults hypocrisy on two levels: as it's lived out by the characters moving within the story, and as it takes issue with the flatly false belief many continue to embrace that the north was somehow free of "prejudice."

In the end, it's a melodrama. Beautifully filmed, executed with a loving sense of the nuance of the period it seeks to emulate, but perhaps not for everybody. I enjoyed it, I'm glad I saw it on the big screen, and I'm sure I'll revisit it as I explore the material it references.