Far From Heaven should create a wider audience for Haynes, long considered one of America's leading independent directors.
The actors move about this elaborate movie museum in a modified dream state, as if living in the present while rooted in the past. But the strategy doesn't work. It's an imitation of lifelessness.
We are left wondering why, in any case, an imitation Sirk was needed, what appetite or interest it might fill. Even with its latter-day (modified) frankness, Far From Heaven is only thin glamour that lacks a tacit wry base.
With tact and care, the movie digs into all the subjects that lay concealed below the surface when Max Ophuls and Douglas Sirk were filming their own melodramas in the nineteen-fifties.
Quaid makes a decent man's anguish richly palpable. Moore makes us feel hidden frenzy with a cool and ultimately heartbreaking grace.
Haynes doesn't simply take a Norman Rockwell setting and release the hounds, either. He deals with these issues directly, but gently, as if his and Sirk's audiences were the same.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Todd Haynes has crafted a feature-length homage to Sirk that succeeds both on its own terms and as the Sirk film that could never have been made in his own lifetime.
Could Haynes go on making films if the health police were ever to let up? He apparently needs to define himself in opposition to their controlling mindset.
Moore gives one of the year's great performances -- subtle, lingeringly rich -- in director Todd Haynes's peculiar revisionist homage to old Hollywood women's pictures.
This exquisite evocation of the 1950s tear-jerkers of director Douglas Sirk is gorgeously designed, stunningly photographed, ravishingly scored and beautifully acted.
| Original Score: 5/5
The arthouse Pleasantville, this handsomely crafted facsimile of '50s melodrama is unengaging and redundant, the lacquered artifice erecting a barrier between screen and audience.
| Original Score: 2/5
Haynes' loving homage to the Technicolor female-driven melodramas of the 1950s looks and feels so authentic, it will make you forget you are watching a new movie.
A takeoff on Douglas Sirk's overwrought, color-saturated 1950s melodramas that rises above its camp roots and converts artifice into art.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
[Haynes'] discomfiting ability to get under the puritanical skin of the US is hampered here by the confines of imitative homage.
Haynes' most fully realized and commercially succesful feature to date is that rare thing, a meticulous homage to Douglas Sirk as well as a poignant drama in its own right.
| Original Score: A
Sensitive, mature melodrama about sexuality in the 1950s.
| Original Score: 4/5
One of the most beautiful looking and surprising films of the year.
It's evident that the movie is in love with itself.
| Original Score: 2/4
One of those films that hits just about every of its intended notes right that descriptions seem moot.
One of most experimental and inebriating films of the year.