“Poison” makes for a disjointed viewing experience, with three vignettes/plots about alternative sexuality. All three are a bit campy examples of real issues on homosexuality, but are too extreme to be considered a deterrent against queerness. The plots intertwine, surprisingly bringing the film’s audience smoothly to and from tones like absurdity, the sublime, and the erotic. Michael W. Philips suggests that the three vignettes won’t stand out on their own, and I agree with him for a bit. But then who wants to release three short films instead of just making a full length feature?
Is it just me, or is everyone in “Far From Heaven” just a little creepy? Grown up version of a boy from “Children of the Corn” randomly showing up in Frank Whitaker’s (Dennis Quaid) hotel room door. Actual children of the corn chasing black girls and throwing stones in their heads. Frank’s wife Cathy (Julianne Moore) randomly showing up at Raymond’s (Dennis Haysbert) trailer-y looking home, with good intentions of course. Flash bulbs. Gossip. Mona Lotter (Celia Weston) spying. Spying! Spying! Spying! If I could give an advice to any civilization, I would tell them not to have too many social constraints, because everyone just ends up being creepy.
“Far From Heaven,” like many melodramas I’ve seen, is almost a masterpiece. The one thing I respect about the movie is that it’s a 2002 movie stuck in 1957 Connecticut, where everything is everyone’s business. The movie can therefore never be judged by any standard other than the latter.
Because it’s stuck in 1957 I’d understand if some people found this a little pessimistic, but that pessimism comes through the movie’s ending. It could have ended with Cathy’s phone call to the NAACP or another call between Cathy and Frank arranging a meeting. Instead it ends with Cathy and Raymond in the train station (Did he expect her to be there?), putting the other two actions or events on hold. We’ll never know if Cathy ends up volunteering for the NAACP or what’s gonna happen between Cathy and Frank.
Also, I saw this movie in entirety in some shitty pan and scan TV airing, and the lighting’s a bit dark. Again, noir elements in a romance-themed film, using colour filters more than neon lighting. I just hope the lighting and the colours are greater in a better quality version.
Another reason why I can’t fully dislike the movie is the cast, especially Julianne Moore, who deliver dated conversation with such straight faces. Dennis Quaid depicts Frank as a loose cannon, but that’s not too distracting.
p.s. Lars’s essay on the same movie compared to an actual Sirk.
I can’t even conjugate a sentence now because:
First item. Two days old news, but the paps got a look at the Kate Winslet vehicle “Mildred Pierce.” Haven’t read the James M. Cain source material and the only knowledge I have of the story is the Joan Crawford movie. This new “Mildred Pierce” miniseries covers the titular character’s struggles in the Depression when she leaves her husband. Ballsy move for the character and Todd Haynes who’s directing the project. I don’t know if I should readily assume things by just looking at paparazzi photos, but this homely Mildred looks like a continent away from the glamorous Mildred of Joan Crawford. And wait, the story’s set in New York instead of LA? We’re probably gonna see more snaps in the future, but I wanna see Kate’s version of Mildred get rich. Ad to see the episodes next month somehow.
I also found my way again to Nick’s Flick Picks, who by the way wanted more from Kate in her career best in “Little Children,” and who’ll have a profile on Kate Winslet coming soon.
Second item. I saw a documentary on TV called “Queen Mother: Her Reign in Colour” about the 16 years when King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth ruled England. The focus is both between the Queen Consort and her subjects, as both have to deal with her brother-in-law’s abdication and the Second World War. With the archive footage we hear about her duty towards her husband and country as well as how she charms people in her foreign tours. That doesn’t mean we don’t get the other viewpoint on royalty, as her lavish lifestyle gets criticism from working class Britons. I’m still surprised how republicanism had its early starts. What I know about her is progressive thinking, quick wit and loving the gays, which makes her probably one of the best historical figures ever.
Which leads us to me getting excited about “The King’s Speech.” Some worry that it’s gonna be another bid for the Weinsteins to get Colin Firth an Oscar, which is a weird yet noble obsession of theirs, by the way. But just like the woman who would become Queen Mother, I really hope Helena Bonham Carter steals the show. Weinsteins, don’t screw this one up!