I remember seeing ‘Far from Heaven’ in the theater. I was living in Portland at the time, and the air was buzzing with hype, partially because Todd Haynes, the director, was from there, and also because it’s an absolutely excellent movie.
If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend that you do. Released in 2002, the film takes place in 1957, and takes expert care to mimic the camera angles, lighting, dialogue, and other filming techniques utilized in melodramatic films and TV shows of that era. For example, during some driving scenes, a fake backdrop is used through the car’s back window, instead of actually filming as the car is moving down a real street.
There are a lot of plot twists in this film, so I won’t say too much about it. Julianne Moore plays Cathy Whitaker, an upper middle class Connecticut housewife, and Patricia Clarkson plays her best friend, Elle. Although the story takes place over the course of several months, there are a lot of great scenes that employ the beauty of fall in New England. The foliage is bright and vibrant, and the female characters are all dressed up in swooshy fabrics, luxe textures, and classic 1950’s silhouettes.
I read somewhere (it was a long time ago and the source escapes me) that Julianne Moore was pregnant at the time of filming, and eventually started to show. The costumer made sure that her already full skirts sat a little higher on her waist than how a woman would have actually worn them, to make sure her bump was hidden.
There are so many reasons to watch and enjoy this film, but it especially puts me in the mood for fall and classic feminine 1950’s silhouettes.