Far From Heaven

Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 37
  2. Negative: 2 out of 37

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Critic Reviews

  1. Austin Chronicle
    Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    89
    Haynes brings the emotional underbelly to the surface, he also tricks up the visual surface with elaborate color schemes that provide unspoken clues regarding the characters’ frames of mind.
  2. 100
    This is a love letter from one auteur to another that doesn't feel like a term paper. Instead, Far From Heaven is an honest-to-God drama with resonance all its own.
  3. A handsome tribute to an era as quaintly distant as tail-fin Chevrolets and A-bomb scares.
  4. This brilliantly and comprehensively captures the look, feel, and sound of glamorous 50s tearjerkers like All That Heaven Allows, not to mock or feel superior to them but to say new things with their vocabulary.
  5. 100
    Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid and Dennis Haysbert are called on to play characters whose instincts are wholly different from their own. By succeeding, they make their characters real, instead of stereotypes.
  6. There's an incongruous but ravishing beauty in Far From Heaven, and in its three excellent central performances, that counteracts the seeming kitschiness of the story.
  7. Easily the best American film so far this year, Far From Heaven is close to perfect.
  8. When all is said and done, Far from Heaven proves an easier film to appreciate than to emotionally embrace. It fails the test of being, in the descriptive phrase of Pauline Kael, "compulsively watchable."
  9. 70
    Once again, though -- almost in spite of Haynes' rigorous post-ironic efforts to bring Sirk back from the dead in any and every way he can -- it ultimately comes down to Moore -- and Moore is simply...wonderful.
  10. 90
    Not a campy movie. True, it has its ironies, but though you can read it ironically if you wish, Haynes' triumph is that it also plays beautifully straight.
  11. The film's three leads are extraordinary, but what Moore does with her role is so beyond the parameters of what we call great acting that it nearly defies categorization.
  12. 88
    It feels wholly artificial, and your eyes never tire of drinking it all in.
  13. May be the year's most derivative film, but it's also the most original.
  14. It elevates female sacrifice into an aesthetic. The movie isn't about suffering, really. It's about how you look when you suffer, how you dress up for it. Style is all.
  15. 100
    Perhaps the year's most daring and fully realized movie, is a pitch-perfect re-creation of '50s melodramas, showcasing a four-hankie performance by a peroxided Julianne Moore.
  16. Newsweek
    Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    Moore’s stunning, subtle performance as a woman trapped in the conventions of her time encapsulates the film’s brave, double-edged beauty.
  17. The movie is, start to finish, candy-colored angst.
  18. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    100
    Far From Heaven would have been one of the great American films of the '50s; it is certainly the finest American melodrama of our time.
  19. 88
    Begins almost as a nostalgic excursion, but quickly detours into a powerful and telling story that examines forbidden love, racial tension, and other issues that are as valid today as they were in the 1950s.
  20. 100
    A movie for hardcore film geeks and regular folk alike, a stunning, and stunningly improbable, fusion of postmodern pastiche and old-school Hollywood melodrama. It's both a marvelous technical accomplishment and a tragic love story that sweeps you off your feet.
  21. If it's ultimately a failure -- and I think it is -- it's still worth seeing, because it's the most ambitious and magnificent failure in recent memory. That, in a sense, qualifies it as a certain kind of "good movie."
  22. It's a daring failure that should delight many devotees of Classic Hollywood.
  23. 90
    Haynes makes it possible to forget all the layers at work and simply be swept up in the story's emotions. As in Sirk's films, these characters live and breathe within the film's exaggerated reality, thanks to rich performances by Haysbert, Quaid, and especially Moore.
  24. For all its accomplishments, Far from Heaven remains hermetic, an elegant exercise in deadpan irony. What does the movie ultimately mean? Art, we're told, should not mean, but be -- but Haynes's cinematic essays are designed to provoke commentary.
  25. 100
    It rediscovers the aching, desiring humanity in a genre -- and a period-- too often subjected to easy parody or ironic appropriation. In a word, it's divine.
  26. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    80
    In short, Haynes is so smart, tolerant, and thoughtful that he has to be saved by his actors. Julianne Moore takes this picture further, perhaps, than anyone can have dreamed. [18 November 2002, p. 104]
  27. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    90
    Ironizes without parodying an antique screen manner, then reaches out from beneath this smooth cover to grab us.
  28. 80
    Haynes took an enormous risk here, but thanks to his thoughtful script and an utterly sincere performance from Moore, what could have easily become a cold, calculated exercise in postmodern pastiche winds up a powerful and deeply moving example of melodramatic moviemaking.
  29. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    75
    Glossy or not, the movie is unflinchingly tough-minded, down to its Hollywood-weepy ending, which, if you think about it, may be the year's gloomiest.
  30. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    90
    An accomplished marriage of elaborate style and content.
  31. 90
    A supremely intelligent pastiche.
  32. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    70
    Yet dramatic energy is in short supply. 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.
  33. Three sterling performances from Moore, Haysbert and Quaid, all of whom grapple with psychic pain in different, touching ways.
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 115 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 64
  2. Negative: 18 out of 64
  1. Aug 26, 2011
    10
    "Far From Heaven" could be considered to be an "experimental" film, to be truthful. It is a study and a replica of the great America"Far From Heaven" could be considered to be an "experimental" film, to be truthful. It is a study and a replica of the great America melodramas of the 1950s, which is the time period the film is set in. Hayes, the director, has clearly done that intentionally, basically pretending that his film was made in the 1950s. With an excellent screenplay touching upon the ever-relevant issues of racism and homosexuality, the story is rather unpredictable and extremely engaging. The cinematography is absolutely phenomenal, which works exquisitely with the stunning art direction and costume design. Visually, the film is simply beautiful - possibly one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. The acting, as well, is superb, especially the leading trio - Moore, Quaid and Haysbert. Julianne Moore is pitch-perfect in this role that has gained her even more critical acclaim than any other previous role. Quaid has a restrained, but effective performance, just as Haysbert does. One can criticise the film for being "over the top" or "fake" or on such grounds, but what it comes down to is that this film is an homage to the melodramas of the 1950s and is emulating the same. And the act is quite effective and convincing. One of the best and most beautiful and moving films I have ever seen! Full Review »
  2. Oct 5, 2013
    10
    Beautiful, tough and sublime film.
    Julianne Moore did her best job. This movie warms your heart because every scene is perfect. At the end I
    Beautiful, tough and sublime film.
    Julianne Moore did her best job. This movie warms your heart because every scene is perfect. At the end I was like: "WOW! Awesome, amazing, touchful, maravillo."
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 27, 2014
    10
    Far From Heaven is a triumph on all accounts--it's art direction, the writing, everything. With a beguiling performance from Julianne Moore,Far From Heaven is a triumph on all accounts--it's art direction, the writing, everything. With a beguiling performance from Julianne Moore, this is one of the most honest and daring films of late. Full Review »