Reviewed by: Halyna Barannik
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Tim Wilkins of Cross Ministry is a Contributing Specialist for ChristianAnswers.Net. Read more about how to minister to homosexuals by visiting Tim’s site.
|Featuring||Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Patricia Clarkson, Viola Davis, Dennis Haysbert|
|Producer||Jody Patton, Christine Vachon, Pamela Koffler|
I wish I could give this film more than a four star rating for its artistic achievement. The actors did their best with a script that does not present the depth of characterization that the themes addressed by “Far From Heaven” require.
Julianne Moore is splendid as Cathy Whitaker, the perfect housewife of Frank Whitaker, played by Dennis Quaid. They live in an upper middle class neighborhood in Hartford sometime in the 1950’s, when Eisenhower was president. The comparison with the “Leave It To Beaver” TV program is inevitable, with the seemingly perfect household and a mother who is always in high heels. However, the dark parts of their lives begin to overshadow the slick and polished look and feel of their daily lives.
Frank is drawn to men. Soon his homosexuality is discovered. Cathy, in turn, finds solace with an African-American gardener, Raymond (Dennis Haysbert), at a time when social contact between the races was not accepted even in the North. These are the two main themes presented.
Intended to be a provocative and provoking examination of the mores of American life in the 1950’s, the movie remains surprisingly shallow in its treatment of its subject matter. Yes, the lives of this couple do fall apart, as the couple faces Frank’s sexual life. Both Moore and Quaid eke as much out of their parts as they can. But the lack of adequate motivation for their actions, the inconsistencies and the stereotypes of the characters, give an unfortunate cartoon-like quality to this film, which has been very highly acclaimed by secular critics.
Maybe the acclaim comes because of the moral of this story, namely, that nature is superior to artifice, that gut feelings (homosexual urges) are superior to moral structure and self-restrained manners. This is the spiritual context in which this melodrama plays out. It concludes that living according to the truthfulness of your fleshly desires is better than any kind of moral order that would restrict raw emotion. The fallen world would agree with the message delivered by the screenplay; the Christian needs to remember the pitfalls of this kind of message.
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