Far From Heaven

User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 115 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 83 out of 115
  2. Negative: 21 out of 115

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User Reviews

  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 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"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! Expand
  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 was like: "WOW! Awesome, amazing, touchful, maravillo."
  3. AndyQ.
    Feb 8, 2003
    10
    Beautiful, tough film. Those who give it low ratings miss the way the artificiality and staginess of the film work to create a reality - much like some live theatre. It's not meant to be realistic, it's heightened in a way so that it's emotional truths hit you harder. The links between all the character's oppressions, all trapped by social prejudice and convention - Beautiful, tough film. Those who give it low ratings miss the way the artificiality and staginess of the film work to create a reality - much like some live theatre. It's not meant to be realistic, it's heightened in a way so that it's emotional truths hit you harder. The links between all the character's oppressions, all trapped by social prejudice and convention - how society views women, gays, black people - are fantastically laid out in a film that draws you in with colour, style, staging and god, the acting. Julianne Moore's depth of character, the soft humanity of Haysbert and the painful closet that Quaid portrays every time he's on screen - a 10. Expand
  4. WilliamM.
    Nov 9, 2002
    10
    An incredibly elegant film. They might as well put Julianne Moore's name on the Oscar now because she gives the best performance of the last couple of years. Dennis Haysbert is incredible as well. Most importantly, the direction and music are so well done, & the choices Haynes made were right on the money. I hope this film gets some noteriety because it really shouldn't be missed.
  5. MichaelR.
    Nov 17, 2003
    10
    Sublime film, though admittedly not for every tastle. The acting, cinematography, art direction and score were excellent.
  6. MarkS.
    Jan 2, 2003
    10
    I've seen this movie 4 times, and each time I discover something more wondrous. The subject matter is compelling, and Moore surely deserves an Oscar for Best Actress. The photography and musical score are outstanding.
  7. GinaL.
    Nov 9, 2002
    10
    Beautiful and enthralling. Its story will keep you thinking long after you leave the theater.
  8. LindaR.
    Nov 9, 2002
    10
    Wonderful movie. Hands down the best of the year. Why don't they make films like this any more?
  9. ArnieN.
    Dec 6, 2002
    10
    Okay, it seems that people are not understanding what this film is. Basically, all Haynes has done was to take a melodrama from the 50s (including sets, costumes, dialogue, etc.) and inserted themes that would have never made it past the censors at that time. It is not supposed to be a "realistic" view of the 50s. It is simply a wonderful celebration of those grand old films. And if you Okay, it seems that people are not understanding what this film is. Basically, all Haynes has done was to take a melodrama from the 50s (including sets, costumes, dialogue, etc.) and inserted themes that would have never made it past the censors at that time. It is not supposed to be a "realistic" view of the 50s. It is simply a wonderful celebration of those grand old films. And if you haven't seen any of them (like "Imitation of Life", etc.), then you just won't appreciate this film. And that's okay. It's not for everyone. However, I just urge those who truly enjoy movies to go and see this film. And, if you haven't seen them already, rent some of the old melodramas of the 40s and 50s so you can truly appreciate how beautifully crafted and acted this film is. Expand
  10. GRACEJ.
    Jan 9, 2003
    10
    This movie took my breath away! I LOVED IT!
  11. BradleyE.
    Aug 12, 2003
    10
    A profound and touching film, superbly realized in every aspect. Julianne Moore's performance, in every sentence, and every physical and emotional expression transcends all the boundaries of great acting, and ranks among the greatest of all film performances, alongside Setsuko Hara in Late Spring, Gong Li in Raise the Red Lantern, Kinuyo Tanaka in Life of Oharu, Helen Bonham Carter A profound and touching film, superbly realized in every aspect. Julianne Moore's performance, in every sentence, and every physical and emotional expression transcends all the boundaries of great acting, and ranks among the greatest of all film performances, alongside Setsuko Hara in Late Spring, Gong Li in Raise the Red Lantern, Kinuyo Tanaka in Life of Oharu, Helen Bonham Carter in Wings of the Dove, and Gillian Anderson in House of Mirth. Expand
  12. TimW.
    Mar 29, 2004
    10
    Everything from the script, direction, performances everything is perfect here.
  13. LarryM.
    Oct 11, 2005
    9
    A great film.
  14. AndrewW.
    Jan 27, 2005
    10
    Every scene is perfect.
  15. AaronL.
    Nov 26, 2002
    10
    Simply stunning. Every detail of this film is perfection. From the script to the art direction to the costumes, photography, and especially the acting. Julianne Moore is brilliant. I can't imagine a better performance coming from any actor this year. Hopefully, the Academy will recognize that fact and award accordingly. Dennis Quaid is terrific as well matching Moore moment for Simply stunning. Every detail of this film is perfection. From the script to the art direction to the costumes, photography, and especially the acting. Julianne Moore is brilliant. I can't imagine a better performance coming from any actor this year. Hopefully, the Academy will recognize that fact and award accordingly. Dennis Quaid is terrific as well matching Moore moment for moment. This film takes the wonderful '50s melodramas, captures all the elements, and then gives it all a new life of its own. Todd Haynes has not simply made melodrama as entertainment. He has raised it to the level of being art. Expand
  16. JonathanB.
    Feb 22, 2004
    10
    This film is just amazing! Anyone who thinks otherwise is missing something. If you did not enjoy this film and have not seen a Douglas Sirk film, rent one.(All That Heaven Allows) It is sad to me to hear people say that the 1950's were not like this, that was not completly what the director was going for. It is paying tribute to the films of the times that were extremly like this. This film is just amazing! Anyone who thinks otherwise is missing something. If you did not enjoy this film and have not seen a Douglas Sirk film, rent one.(All That Heaven Allows) It is sad to me to hear people say that the 1950's were not like this, that was not completly what the director was going for. It is paying tribute to the films of the times that were extremly like this. Julianne Moore does the best job any actress in hollywood could do, hands down the best preformance of the year. Also to the person who did not think a black man would go to an art gallery at that time is seriously confussed. Yes black people did do the things whites did. Yes, even if it was targeted to white midle class people. Alot of things are still targeted to that and wealthy and non-wealthy people of every culture attend. Expand
  17. KurtK.
    Feb 24, 2007
    9
    Stunningly beautiful scenery and lead actress, powerful scenes by Dennis Quaid. The best of its type I've ever seen.
  18. 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, this is one of the most honest and daring films of late.
  19. MichaelF.
    Nov 12, 2002
    7
    Wow do I feel, and am going to look stupid. Moore is spectacular, as is Quaid. Beautiful Ed Lachman cinematography! Fine script, and though they do a fantastic Douglas Sirk homage, it just didn't work emotionally. There are times, when Quaid cries or Moore cries when it works, but it is immediatly flushed out by the OVER-THE-TOP musical score. I know! I know that's what they did Wow do I feel, and am going to look stupid. Moore is spectacular, as is Quaid. Beautiful Ed Lachman cinematography! Fine script, and though they do a fantastic Douglas Sirk homage, it just didn't work emotionally. There are times, when Quaid cries or Moore cries when it works, but it is immediatly flushed out by the OVER-THE-TOP musical score. I know! I know that's what they did in 1957 films but why doesn't director Todd Haynes add in that nod to Sirk and Sirk's style and mix it with Todd Haynes's style. I wanted him to be a bit more personal, why doesn't he comment on the film. GRADE: B/B+ Expand
  20. JohnE.
    Nov 22, 2002
    7
    Solid, but not the world beater I expected from the reviews. I think the homage elements make this a critics movie.
  21. RyanM.
    Nov 29, 2002
    9
    Beautiful in every way. But, I was never fully engrossed in it's ages-old storyline.
  22. Reid
    Nov 30, 2002
    7
    7+ Stylized approach saves the movie from being goofy. Strong but sort of stiff acting. Patricia Clarkson has a killer wardrobe. Script is overwritten -- paring it down a bit and loosening up the actors and their characters would have made a better movie.
  23. MarcK.
    Dec 23, 2002
    7
    Definitely worth seeing...although I'm not as gaga about this as many of the Film Critic Associations, who have lavished awards on this film. I agree that some of the scenes with Haysbert and Moore were a little hard to believe...especially dancing together in the bar. But I still liked the re-creation of the 50's, and thought Quaid did a great job in his role.
  24. JKSeimour
    Aug 7, 2003
    8
    It's a feit when an actor can take such krummy lines and make it art. Moore deserves all credit for what made this movie good, because she singlehandedly stole every scene.
  25. BronxvilleFilmFan
    Jan 2, 2003
    9
    Thank Goodness for a movie that looks and feels beautifully and wonderfully DIFFERENT! A director and actors who are willing to take some chances!!! I really enjoyed this film and how Todd Haynes used every element--music, lighting, wardrobe--to tell his story. My reaction when I walked out of the theatre: Moore, Quaid, and Haysbert were all terrific. Haysbert, in particular, is called Thank Goodness for a movie that looks and feels beautifully and wonderfully DIFFERENT! A director and actors who are willing to take some chances!!! I really enjoyed this film and how Todd Haynes used every element--music, lighting, wardrobe--to tell his story. My reaction when I walked out of the theatre: Moore, Quaid, and Haysbert were all terrific. Haysbert, in particular, is called upon to be stoic yet also bold enough to express interest in Moore's Mrs. Whitaker. Both are mavericks, which, in this time period makes them near outcasts. Haysbert's Deagen has the audacity to be college educated, to raise a single daugther, to indeed be versed in literature and the arts, and to own a business. Moore's Cathy Whitaker is similar: she's associated with social justice causes (friendly to Jews and negroes, they say) at the derision of the conservative community. Both actors, Moore and Haysbert, bring their material to life wonderfully. Regarding some of the criticism here: it's offensive to me that others would claim there were no Black intellectuals in the 1950s. Indeed, Black men and women have been reading literature and studying the arts for a long time. Also, yes, indeed, there were closeted men with young male lovers in the 50s. Let me remind of you Rock Hudson, a closeted gay man who was married for three years. He may not have had lovers during that time (I don't know), but it's not so far beyond the pale to believe Quaid's storyline. Expand
  26. JohnR.
    Jan 8, 2003
    10
    This movie moved me in a way I've never experienced. These characters are trapped as far from heaven as we remain today, yet the unique perspective and the tight crafting of this film expresses a hope that we are moving toward honesty. We are never who we think we are, and we are never beyond the limits of love, but we're forever far from heaven.
  27. GabrielB.
    Feb 14, 2003
    10
    Perfect. Many critics discuss the films irony, but they miss the boat. It's the flawless combination of sacred and profance that Hayne's is exploring - the irony takes a back seat. He has chosen an incredible language and style for the film and, furthermore, has tenderly executed it - never ridiculing the characters or the inspiration from which the style originates. 'Far Perfect. Many critics discuss the films irony, but they miss the boat. It's the flawless combination of sacred and profance that Hayne's is exploring - the irony takes a back seat. He has chosen an incredible language and style for the film and, furthermore, has tenderly executed it - never ridiculing the characters or the inspiration from which the style originates. 'Far From Heaven' something beyond moving. It's disgusting that Haynes wasn't nominated for a Best Director Oscar. Expand
  28. MattD.
    Sep 17, 2004
    9
    Haynes's characters ultimately respect the moral sensibilites of the era, which gives the film weight.
  29. J.RyanG.
    May 27, 2005
    9
    If Luis Bunuel's "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" is a brilliant work of art made out of a concise political statement, this film is a keen political statement made about other works of art. It's beautifully shot, highlighted by Elmer Bernstein's appropriately melodramatic score, and held together by Julianne Moore's bravest performance. Kudos also to an If Luis Bunuel's "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" is a brilliant work of art made out of a concise political statement, this film is a keen political statement made about other works of art. It's beautifully shot, highlighted by Elmer Bernstein's appropriately melodramatic score, and held together by Julianne Moore's bravest performance. Kudos also to an unusually real Dennis Quaid, who was robbed of an Oscar nomination. He provides the jagged edge to an otherwise beautiful and elegant piece, where harsh truths and ugly sensations smolder beneath the surface. Perhaps its politics are most poignant and effective when showing how certain things are said in today's society that might've remained as code in the 1950s, yet we're still all too willing to misrepresent them in their finest pomp and polish. I'm not entirely sure that that statement is something the director, who is openly gay, intended to say. Expand
  30. SheriA.
    Nov 25, 2002
    9
    Highly stylized, visually lush, and superbly acted, this film is both beautiful to look at and meaningful to experience. It deals with issues that, while still somewhat sticky today, were a powderkeg in the 1950s. As a result, framing this story in the 1950s gives it the dramatic power to really impress.
  31. MikeD.
    Dec 7, 2002
    7
    This was a fine movie. Clearly, its best attribute was in its ability to recreate the perfect 50s movie using taboo issues that would have instantly been cut back then. It truly accomplishes this well. In addition, the acting was excellent. Its shortfall is hard to place, however. I think it was somewhere between the issues themselves and the ways in which they were presented that I found This was a fine movie. Clearly, its best attribute was in its ability to recreate the perfect 50s movie using taboo issues that would have instantly been cut back then. It truly accomplishes this well. In addition, the acting was excellent. Its shortfall is hard to place, however. I think it was somewhere between the issues themselves and the ways in which they were presented that I found myslef wondering if I had seen this movie sometime before in the 90s: its content itself wasn't very original. Despite this, the movie was beautiful, and I would recommend it to anyone who thinks they can appreciate it for what it is: a taboo fusion. Expand
  32. TKjer
    Feb 8, 2003
    10
    A real heart-breaker! This is no more realistic than Douglas Sirk's films of the '50's but it's a wonderful fantasy exploring/exposing our recent culture's limits of tolerance and stifling society. How far we've come, or have we?
  33. M.Carey
    Mar 19, 2003
    8
    [****Spoilers Warning****] At the end of Far From Heaven, Moore's character had no money, no friends, no husband, no lover. Her husband, on the other hand, had a lucrative income, influential business associates, and a hot, young male paramour. There's a glaring inequity here. The storyline of Quaid's character cried out for further development ? the way it played out in the[****Spoilers Warning****] At the end of Far From Heaven, Moore's character had no money, no friends, no husband, no lover. Her husband, on the other hand, had a lucrative income, influential business associates, and a hot, young male paramour. There's a glaring inequity here. The storyline of Quaid's character cried out for further development ? the way it played out in the movie was unlikely for that time period. What really would have happened to Quaid's character once his friends and associates learned of his homosexuality? In the ultra conservative social environment of the U.S. during the 1950s, this revelation would have ruined his career which, in turn, would have threatened the welfare of his wife and children. The unrealistic fate of Quaid's character created a huge, gaping hole in this film that kept it from being a truly great movie. Expand
  34. ChristianV.
    Nov 26, 2002
    10
    This film is picture perfect. Dennis Quaid is very intense in his role.This movie tackles the taboo subjects of homosexuality and racism of the 1950's brilliantly!!
  35. MartinB.
    May 15, 2003
    10
    Les commentaires de certaines personnes dans cette section exposent le manque flagrant de culture cinématographique et de culture socio-politique de la population. En plus d'être un remarquable film au plan technique (la reconstitution plastique et filmique des années 50 est digne d'une anthologie), d'avoir une nouvelle remarquable performance de julianneLes commentaires de certaines personnes dans cette section exposent le manque flagrant de culture cinématographique et de culture socio-politique de la population. En plus d'être un remarquable film au plan technique (la reconstitution plastique et filmique des années 50 est digne d'une anthologie), d'avoir une nouvelle remarquable performance de julianne moore( actrice qui prouve la grande farce des oscars puisqu'elle n'en possède toujours pas un), far from heaven est une étude fabuleuse de l'intolérance, des faux semblants, de l'hypocrisie qui marque profondément la culture étatsunienne d'aujourd'hui autant que celle idéalisée par le american dream des années 50...un chef-d'oeuvre.... Expand
  36. EricL
    Jul 16, 2007
    8
    This film is very difficult to score - I do agree with one reviewer who found it very unlikely that Dennis Quaid's character would just dump Cathy and live with a man - because he definitely would lose his job and everything - in that era men did those things on the side while still being married. However, I admire very much what was attempted in this movie, and for the most part This film is very difficult to score - I do agree with one reviewer who found it very unlikely that Dennis Quaid's character would just dump Cathy and live with a man - because he definitely would lose his job and everything - in that era men did those things on the side while still being married. However, I admire very much what was attempted in this movie, and for the most part they succeeded. Julienne Moore is absolutely brilliant, and the reason she did not win the oscar is because the idiots in Hollywood always overlook understated performances - and yet these performances are actually more difficult (See Mary Tyler Moore in "Ordinary People"). Moore is perfect in every scene as she watches her perfect wold unravel and struggles between the part of herself that wants to scream outloud, and the other part of her that has been perfectly honed over the years to be the ideal suburban upscale wife - it is a subtle and brilliant performance. The script is not perfect, and there were a few minor scenes that did not ring true- but the overall package is amazing - the perfect cast from top to bottom, most of the script, the acting, cinematography, directing, score, everything about this movies pays homage to a by-gone era of American Films and does it with taste and class. When thinking about the 50's you have to remember that the 50's (as any decade) varied depending on where you lived and how you were raised - and this movie comes pretty close to what real life was like for these people - they were literally trapped inside a nightmare which they (and their contemporaries) had created - it's no wonder that a few years later their children would be burning their bras and protesting wars. Far from Heaven is indeed a great movie because it has such high aspirations - a movie from 2002 that dares to style itself after a 50's drama and to do so via (gasp) a subtle script rather than relying on special effects and things blowing up etc. For the most part they achieved their goal and are to be commended for their efforts. This is a beautiful film worth watching if only to appreciate the efforts of all involved. Expand
  37. Michael
    Dec 22, 2002
    10
    To everyone panning this film because it's "unrealistic" -- that's exactly the point. This is not only a film set in the 50s, but a film designed to look like it came out of the 50s, complete with the requisite stereotypes and cliched characters and situations. Even the music punches up the melodrama. What makes it so entertaining is that it is ridiculous to look at, but To everyone panning this film because it's "unrealistic" -- that's exactly the point. This is not only a film set in the 50s, but a film designed to look like it came out of the 50s, complete with the requisite stereotypes and cliched characters and situations. Even the music punches up the melodrama. What makes it so entertaining is that it is ridiculous to look at, but incredibly true emotionally. It's a parody of 50s films, but rather than being a comedy, it's a drama, and I have rarely enjoyed a film so much from start to finish. Expand
  38. ChadS.
    Dec 24, 2002
    10
    Julianne Moore will win the Oscar come next year. Never for a second does she give us cause to laugh at her. On the backpage of a recent "Entertainment Weekly", a writer sneered at the notion of acting being an actual craft. Moore's performance rebukes such claims. Everybody connected with this film deserves a pat on the back, but this is the film that confirms Moore as one of the Julianne Moore will win the Oscar come next year. Never for a second does she give us cause to laugh at her. On the backpage of a recent "Entertainment Weekly", a writer sneered at the notion of acting being an actual craft. Moore's performance rebukes such claims. Everybody connected with this film deserves a pat on the back, but this is the film that confirms Moore as one of the all-time-greats. The title of a film seems arbitrary most of the time. Not here. When you think of Cathy Whitaker's future, the words; far from heaven, will hit you hard. Expand
  39. Nov 29, 2010
    7
    It's not often that a movie moves you in ways where you both feel for the the repressive taboos of a past decade whilst triggering you to re-evaluate the behaviour of present society. Julianne Moore and Dennis Haysbert are really bearing their souls out with performances that will mark both their careers.
  40. Jun 19, 2016
    8
    A lavishly designed period piece from director Todd Haynes, Far From Heaven is a heartbreaking look at the taboo nature of interracial relationships and homosexuality in 1950s Connecticut. With fantastic performances from Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, and Dennis Haysbert, Far From Heaven is a great take on 1950s melodramas and sports all the expected romance, drama, and tearjerkingA lavishly designed period piece from director Todd Haynes, Far From Heaven is a heartbreaking look at the taboo nature of interracial relationships and homosexuality in 1950s Connecticut. With fantastic performances from Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, and Dennis Haysbert, Far From Heaven is a great take on 1950s melodramas and sports all the expected romance, drama, and tearjerking elements of the genre. The film has fantastic production design and costume design, which both perfectly fit the period. Additionally, the actors have great chemistry with one another and were clearly quite well directed by Haynes as they never overact, as can be the case in melodramas. Overall, Far From Heaven is a tragic, romantic, and incredibly smart period piece that presents great examples of the societal problems of the time. Expand
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 37
  2. Negative: 2 out of 37
  1. 90
    A supremely intelligent pastiche.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.