This is a movie reaction paper on “Far from Heaven” by Todd Haynes examining the following question: how has gender changed since the 1950s and why?
The story describes the traditional family of Whitakers living in 1957. The wife of a successful businessperson Cathy finds her husband Frank in an unambiguous situation: husband is cheating on her with a man. Cathy also gives vent to her feelings and moves closer to Afro-American gardener Raymond. However, a small provincial town they live in considers the latter even the worse misdemeanor than the sexual orientation of Frank.
The end of the 50s with their rigorous and measured regulation of relations, the press of public morals, and similar essential attributes is the social context of the film. Humble sighs of women who has forgotten about their husbands’ affection, impaction and awkward laughter of decent girlfriends of so-called “bachelorette party” suddenly raise the spicy theme. After all, it was a time when homosexuality seemed no less reprehensible than the possibility of love between an Afro-American man and a white woman. In the United States, Afro-Americans were threatened by actions of Ku Klux Klan, and homosexuality could be easily a reason for job dismissal.
Those deliberately and openly practicing homosexual behavior were subjected to the criminal punishment or forced treatment. It was absolutely unheard. Even the friendship between a white woman and an Afro-American man was beyond the understanding of Americans of that period. The film, with all its implausibility of a stereotyped life, is presented quite accurately. People do live “Far From Heaven” as the life is full of challenges and surprises. No one could have predicted young Cathy’s destiny, in particular that her beloved Frank would be gay, she would find understanding and love of a person with a different skin color, and, therefore, could never be with him and be truly happy.
During the twentieth century, the assessment of homosexuality in Western society has passed a significant evolution. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses and started to count it normal behavior. Nowadays, the science of psychology talks about three forms of sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual), neither of which is considered a crime or disease. Homosexuality ceased to be spoken of as perversion. In the last decades of the twentieth century, the notion of the sexual orientation became commonly accepted. It refers to a more or less constant sexual relation of the individual to other individuals of the same sex. In a number of countries (especially, Muslim ones) criminalization of homosexual relations is continuing. Such a radical change in attitudes towards homosexuality has led to intense debate about the problem of homosexuality in the world. The range of extremely broad views was expressed. As a result, disputes are still going on.
Generally speaking, today we live in a democratic world, where homosexuality is no longer considered as something horrible and reprehensible because countries develop a modern idea of equality and gender selection. For example, in the United States, they legalized same-sex marriages. Moreover, marriages between whites and Afro-Americans are not surprising anymore.
In conclusion, it should be stressed that despite the fact that part of the society continues to condemn events shown in the film, the world confidently striding towards the free choice of partner regardless of race and gender.