• Julianne Moore in the exquisite tragedy, Far From Heaven. (SBS Movies)Source: SBS Movies

In 1957, a lonely Connecticut housewife (Julianne Moore) is shocked to discover her often-absent husband in the arms of another man. In turn, she develops a close friendship with her African American gardener, causing much uproar.

4.5

The life of Cathy Whitaker, Julianne Moore, seems, on the surface, tranquil in late 1950's Connecticut. Her husband Frank, Dennis Quaid, is a top TV sales executive. Cathy is a smiling, calm hostess, a perfect mother of two children. And then one evening she discovers her husband in the arms of another man. The perfect picture shatters. Frank is a tortured man who tries to 'cure' himself, to little avail. Cathy finds solace in her relationship with her black gardener Raymond, Dennis Haysbert. In the course of the film Cathy will discover just how narrow her world really is. This heartbreakingly beautiful film has a sense of slightly heightened reality, the colours of the fall leaves, of the women's skirts, so beautifully photographed by Oscar nominee Ed Lachmann, are rich and vibrant, perhaps in contrast to the emotional reality of the lives we're drawn into. The film is self- conscious in style and content, and yet it speaks volumes about a world where the oppressiveness of middle class life has tragic consequences. It's a very moving and beautiful experience.

Comments From David Stratton: Julianne Moore is sublime in Todd Haynes affectionate tribute to the melodramas Douglas Sirk made at U-I in the mid-50s; the film looks great as it explores themes that might have interested Sirk had the censors of the day allowed him to tackle them. Despite the artificiality and the deliberately Technicolored look of the film it is, ultimately, extremely moving.