Album: Far From Heaven: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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Far From Heaven: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Artist: Elmer Bernstein
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Label: Varese Sarabande

With typical verve, director Todd Haynes’s film not only seeks to evoke Douglas Sirk’s social-themed Hollywood melodramas of the ‘50s, but to bring an entirely new one to life with a distinct lack of modern irony. In telling the story of a Connecticut couple whose “perfect” relationship masks taboo undercurrents of homosexuality and interracial love, Haynes has found the perfect musical collaborator in 50-plus-year film scoring veteran Elmer Bernstein. The composer manages a deft tightrope act here, managing to inform Haynes’s film-out-of-time with the same…

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With typical verve, director Todd Haynes’s film not only seeks to evoke Douglas Sirk’s social-themed Hollywood melodramas of the ‘50s, but to bring an entirely new one to life with a distinct lack of modern irony. In telling the story of a Connecticut couple whose “perfect” relationship masks taboo undercurrents of homosexuality and interracial love, Haynes has found the perfect musical collaborator in 50-plus-year film scoring veteran Elmer Bernstein. The composer manages a deft tightrope act here, managing to inform Haynes’s film-out-of-time with the same delicate, emotionally compelling sensibility he brought to his classic score for To Kill a Mockingbird, while steering clear of emotional treacle and obvious musical anachronisms. Anchored by a spare, ethereal piano theme (performed with sympathetic grace by Cynthia Millar) and colored with melancholy woodwind figures and restrained string flourishes, Bernstein’s music still manages a back-to-the-future pastoralism that firmly underscores the film’s timeless subtexts. It’s a masterpiece of autumnal understatement by one of Hollywood’s true living legends. —Jerry McCulley

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This uniquely beautiful film—from one of the smartest and most idiosyncratic of contemporary directors, Todd Haynes (Safe, Velvet Goldmine)—takes the lush 1950s visual style of so-called women’s pictures (particularly those of Douglas Sirk, director of Imitation of Life and Magnificent Obsession) to tell a story that mixes both sexual and racial prejudice. Julianne Moore, an amazing fusion of vulnerability and will power, plays a housewife whose husband (Dennis Quaid) has a secret gay life. When she finds solace in the company of a…

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