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Archive for June 17th, 2010

by Allan Fish

(USA 2002 107m) DVD1/2

Here’s to being the only one

p  Christine Vachon, Jody Patton  d/w  Todd Haynes  ph  Ed Lachman  ed  James Lyons  m  Elmer Bernstein  art  Mark Friedberg  cos  Sandy Powell

Julianne Moore (Cathy Whitaker), Dennis Quaid (Frank Whitaker), Dennis Haysbert (Raymond Deagan), Patricia Clarkson (Eleanor Fine), Viola Davis (Sybil), James Rebhorn (Dr Bowman), Celia Weston (Mona Lauder),

If ever a film of the last few years seemed to have appeared on our screens as if out of a time capsule, it was Todd Haynes 2002 drama.  But was there a more subtly shaded, delicately composed film that year?  It is also one of the great homages from one artist to another made for the silver screen, in this case Todd Haynes bowing down at the altar of Douglas Sirk, the cinema’s master of the four hankie melodrama.

            Cathy Whitaker is a model wife in late fifties American suburbia, with a successful husband, model children, a lovely home and a circle of friends with whom she spends many an afternoon.  But behind the façade, paradise is crumbling.  Her black gardener, Otis, has died, and his young son Raymond has taken over his duties.  In simply consoling him with a hand on a shoulder upon hearing of Otis’ death, she attracts the unwanted gossipy attention of her so-called friends, but worse is to come when her husband announces that he is a homosexual.  A ‘condition’ not mentioned in polite society.  And as for her spending time with a black man, well, what can I say? (more…)

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