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Far From Heaven [DVD] [2002]

Release Date:04/01/2003
Director/screenwriter Todd Haynes has created a melodramatic, star-packed, 1950s drama with Far From Heaven from Universal Studios. This heart-wrenching tale about spouses, fantasies, and unraveling marriage is presented beautifully in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colors are clear, even thought the film itself is shot with a slightly dreamy, past-tense feel for effect. The English 5.1 Surround Sound is the perfect vehicle to enjoy the haunting musical score by Elmer Bernstein. A French 5.1 Dolby Surround track, French subtitles, and Spanish subtitles are also included. The studio included many extras on the disc, which is to be expected considering the weight of the star power and the attention that the film received at last year's Academy Awards and Golden Globes. First, there's a screen-specific, rather technical audio commentary with Haynes that offers everything from in-depth insight into the makings of the film to the symbolic meanings of melodramas of the 1950s. Following that, the disc provides three featurettes, with the first being the lengthy "Anatomy of a Scene." Stars such as Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid provide insight into the movie, as do production designer Mark Friedberg and composer Bernstein. "The Making of Far From Heaven" is the typical commercial-like lengthy promo featuring all the film's primary players, but it's still interesting enough to warrant a look. In "A Filmmaker's Experience," Moore and Haynes speak in front of a live audience during a Q & A session at Los Angeles' American Cinematheque. But disappointingly, it's the shortest of the three featurettes. Rounding out the fare are production notes, filmographies, and a theatrical trailer.
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    Special Features

    • The making of Far from Heaven
    • Anatomy of a scene featurette
    • Feature commentary with director Todd Haynes
    • A Filmmaker's Experience With Julianne Moore and Todd Haynes


    Far From Heaven
    Maverick director Todd Haynes embraces the look and feel of classic Hollywood melodramas of the 1950s in this period drama. Cathy Whitaker (Julianne Moore) and her husband, Frank (Dennis Quaid), are a seemingly perfect couple; living in a handsome suburban neighborhood in Hartford, CT, in 1957, Cathy and Frank have a beautiful home and two happy, healthy children, while Frank pursues a successful career in sales and Cathy cares for the home. But Cathy has begun to sense something isn't quite right in her marriage, as Frank begins working late, spending less time with her, and seems cold and distant. One day, Cathy visits Frank's work and discovers something she never expected -- her husband is kissing a man. At Cathy's urging, Frank undergoes psychotherapy, but as she tries to keep up a brave face, the emotional trauma takes a great toll on her, and she finds there are very few people she can talk with. Cathy strikes up a friendship with Raymond Deagan (Dennis Haysbert), an African-American gardener who works for the Whitakers, and as she discovers how intelligent and compassionate Raymond is, she finds herself drawn to him. However, Hartford is in many ways still a small town, and when Mona (Celia Weston) sees Cathy and Raymond alone together, it sets off a wave of vicious gossip that threatens to make the Whitakers' many secrets public knowledge. Far From Heaven premiered at the 2002 Venice Film Festival, where Julianne Moore's performance won the prize for Best Actress. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Julianne Moore
      Julianne Moore - Cathy Whitaker
    • Dennis Quaid
      Dennis Quaid - Frank Whitaker
    • Dennis Haysbert
      Dennis Haysbert - Raymond Deagan
    • Patricia Clarkson
      Patricia Clarkson - Eleonor Fine
    • Viola Davis
      Viola Davis - Sybil

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.