Far from Heaven (12A)
Time Out saysLike RW Fassbinder before him, Haynes reworks Sirk's All That Heaven Allows to masterly effect. Unlike Fear Eats the Soul, however, Far from Heaven retains the post-war suburban New England setting - Hartford, Connecticut, 1957 - a time and place of deceptively tranquil well being, prior to the liberating turmoil of the '60s. Cathy and Frank Whitaker (Moore and Quaid) appear to have it all. He's a TV sales exec, she's a happy wife and mother with fine friends and a wonderful maid. Then she finds Frank leads a double life. And because their circle has no truck even with guilt ridden homosexuals, she's so isolated that her most comforting moments are conversations with their gardener - trouble is, Raymond (Haysbert) is black. While Haynes' script has its moments of humour, it wisely steers clear of condescension and camp while exploring a maze of taboos, confusions, prejudices and double standards. Elmer Bernstein's music, Sandy Powell's costumes and Ed Lachman's camera hit all the right notes, but Haynes' immaculate confection is finally best served by the extraordinary acting. Exultant in both its artifice and its cruel honesty, it's a movie Sirk would make today - and, as such, it's quite brilliant.