Monday, February 8, 2010

Far From Heaven

Last week, I finally saw this movie, Far From Heaven.  It was included as Andrew O'Hehir's top ten best of the Aughts - up there with Pan's Labyrinth.  I agree that Julianne Moore's performance was stunning - I haven't seen all her other work.  It is hard to believe that she is the same actress who plays Jack Donaghy's heavy Boston accented school crush.

It really is a beautiful movie, the colors are vibrant.The costumes are great, as well as the set design. All in all, it was a good film.  I think it consciously played off the stereotypical woman in the late 1950s plot.  Or, woman trapped by society plot (haven't we seen this with Anna Karenina?).  Actually, it did remind me quite a bit of Anna Karenina - without the Levin character.

Part of the film is the realization that the main character (Kathy's) husband is gay - they appear to have the perfect home and life. But in reality, they do not.  He's never home and always unhappy.  At one point, Frank (played by Dennis Quaid) even goes to a psychiatrist to try and "cure" him of being gay.  Homosexuality was thought (back then) of as a disease (until 1973).  

Throughout the movie there is a heavy handed idea that this was life then, and things are different now.

What's interesting for me, and why I bring this up is that I didn't realize that the LDS church (that I was raised in) was still encouraging gay men to marry women.  Well, I think it has backed off on that stance a bit - although I'm not sure if that is official or not. But this is the situation that many couples find themselves in, not fifty years ago - but in the past decade.  And as the MSP post I linked to above brings up - is that fair to either person in the couple?  Is that fair to the wife? 

There is a painful scene in the film where the husband describes to his wife that he has fallen in love.  He says "I didn't know what it was like"...and she looks like she's been slapped in the face.  Because all along, she loved him, she tried to do everything possible to be happy.  And not a month earlier, he had been so angry that she had been seen talking with a man of color (which was a scandal for the entire town). 

One of the conflicts in the movie was the assumption that he could change - just because he wanted to. 

It was a sad movie.  And one worth seeing - if only to realize some of where we have come from, and where we are.  I don't know if it makes my list of top ten films from the last decade, but it was definitely worth seeing. 


FaustoC said...

If you're interested in the relationship dynamics of a gay man married to a woman, this is an incredible story dealing with that, and with being encouraged by the Mormon church to try and "fix him" and keep the marriage together. It's 30 chapters but worth the read:

Falling Into Life: A Gay Exmormon’s Journey

His mother was a bipolar hypochondriac, incidentally.

Aerin said...

Thanks FaustoC - and thanks for stopping by.