Chapter

Queerness

Glyn Davis

in Far from Heaven

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780748637782
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670864 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748637782.003.0005
Queerness

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This chapter investigates in detail the queerness of Far from Heaven. The film's queerness can be determined in four specific ways. Firstly, in its bringing to mainstream audiences an ‘independent’, ‘art-house’ or ‘underground’ attitude and approach to melodrama; secondly, in the supporting characters of Sybil (Viola Davis), Eleanor (Patricia Clarkson) and Mona (Celia Weston); thirdly, in its impact on contemporary audiences' understandings and readings of cinema history; and fourthly, in its relation to HIV/AIDS and public responses to the disease. Far from Heaven works as a work of retrospectatorship, or queer reading, on the films it directly quotes. In relation to HIV/AIDS, mourning took on a particular political valence for those affected by the disease. The subjects explored in this chapter provide models for how queer theory can open up Far from Heaven in ways that reveal its complexity, subtlety and significance.

Keywords: queerness; Far from Heaven; melodrama; Sybil; Eleanor; Mona; cinema history; HIV; AIDS; queer theory

Chapter.  11776 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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