Julianne Moore, Far From Heaven
Credit: Far From Heaven: Abbot Genser

Haynes’ first movie since 1998’s ”Velvet Goldmine” stars Moore as a troubled upper-middle-class housewife. If you’re thinking this sounds a lot like Haynes’ 1995 ”Safe,” which starred Moore as a distraught homemaker, think again. An homage to the stylized melodramas of director Douglas Sirk, the ’50s-set ”Far From Heaven” is a world apart from the dark, foreboding tone of ”Safe.” ”[It’s] girly and swirly,” the writer-director says of his latest feature, set in the seemingly idyllic suburbia of Hartford, Conn. ”It’s a love story, really pleasurable. There’s nothing hard about it.”

Exploring the repressed desires of an ostensibly perfect couple, the movie follows the then taboo relationship between Cathy Whitaker (Moore, for whom Haynes wrote the script) and her gardener (Haysbert), while her breadwinning husband (Quaid) struggles with his own sexuality. ”The film was hard to do because [it isn’t] a quote-unquote naturalistic film set in the ’50s or a parody of the ’50s,” Haynes explains. ”[It uses] the filmmaking style of the ’50s to affect on an emotional level.” As for the performers, Haynes is confident they deliver — especially Haysbert (better known as Sen. David Palmer on Fox’s ”24”). ”Man, he’s just gonna turn so many people on.”

THE LOWDOWN Haynes’ eclectic films often fly under the mainstream radar. But with ”Heaven”-sent Moore and Quaid, this one could be his breakthrough.

Far From Heaven
  • Movie
  • 107 minutes