This was one of those decompression days that immediately follows a large gathering of people here at the farm, typified by the kind of inertia that would slow the planets to a crawl. Tessa, after rallying four days straight for guests, food and a trip to Madison Square Garden, could scarcely get out of bed. We gathered enough adenine triphosphate to get over to Great Barrington to see Far From Heaven, Todd Haynes’ new film that beautifully apes the “women’s films” of Douglas Sirk (some of which are the life blood supply of Tessa’s moviegoing consciousness), and it was an understated treat. Not just for the 1950s-style ludicrousness of America’s civil liberties, but the art direction was fabulous; several rooms in Julianne Moore’s house are the exact replica of our unchanged rooms here at the farm. I’ve renovated the downstairs, but the upstairs has not been altered significantly since 1955:
one of our bedrooms: note “maple leaf” single bed (no sex please), gold-plated cherubs on wall, and sunburst clock with wood paneling and green-flowered wallpaper
There are about fifty incredible shots in this movie, but the last one stands out as significant: after a homosexual tryst dissolves her family, and our heroine is left with a bittersweet goodbye from a forbidden love across the racial divide, the camera pans up slowly from the cold snow and into a tree limb showing the first buds of spring. I took it to mean “don’t worry, Julianne: the 1960s are just around the corner and pretty soon it’ll be okay to be gay and cool to date a black man.”
Then about two hours after the movie, I thought: nope. White, straight America still hates queers, and they’re not too fond of black people either. It was enough to make me want to go back to bed.