“Far From Heaven” Film Response

Updated: Jan 10, 2021

For the first time, I watched the film Far from Heaven. A romance, directed by Todd Haynes, was released in 2002. The same year as my birth.

My initial reaction to the film, was one of surprise. The film had an intense amount of 70's vintage elements despite the fact that it was released in 2002. How could this be with it being released the same year I was born, was it filmed 30 years prior and in post production for the remaining years? I wondered. The lead character, Kathlene, was what I’d consider your stereotypical “traditional woman.” She was a wife & a mother of 2, who lounged in 1950's swing dresses and allowed her husband, Frank, to work many hours while she remained at home or took care of the “ homely” duties alongside her maid, Sybil, played by the lovely Viola Davis.

Something I noticed early was this film's impressive, and dramatic use of color. I once did attempt to study the psychology of color in films, but felt that I was familiar with few films that the psychology was applicable to. But, this film has a very solid and easy to interpret color psychology.

The main time that I noticed this was when the husband was entering the bar. He stood outside the door to the bar and was completely engulfed in the color green with nothing but a red sign behind him. This pattern & theme continued throughout the scene as he encountered people in the bar. The bartender was in red while the husband was in green. To me, those colors symbolized "danger" and "greed".

I thought it was funny when Kathleen was hosting her annual party, and Frank, drunkenly yells at her, due to some previous events that occurred between the two over time. One of Kathleen's best friends pull her to the side and ask if anything was wrong. Kathleen replies that Frank had just been working harder than usual and is stressed. Her friend asked her to confirm if that was the truth and replied “ you’d tell me if there was anything more?” Kathleen replies “of course I would..”. I found this funny because in an earlier scene Kathleen's friend was revealed to be an ultimate blabbermouth which would be another reason Kathleen would hesitate to share the information with her.

One of the most powerful things I think I will take away from this film is an example of the importance of acceptance and letting go. Throughout the film, Frank struggled with his sexuality secretly. Once his wife was aware that he was struggling with his sexuality, she tried to change him and get him to do things to make him change. But in the end, nothing could change the way he really was, and really felt. His wife must have learned to accept it.

The film Far From Heaven, directed by Todd Haynes, was full of heart-warming and true-to-life surprises. It surely had more surprises then I expected as a young film-lover. It dove into racial tensions between upper class women and men in Connecticut, as well as sexual confusion for an otherwise manly man.

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