Welcome to the perfect world of the Whitaker family. Frank (Dennis Quaid) and Cathy (Julianne Moore) have big house and a manicured garden. They’re an American Dream couple: Successful businessman, attractive and doting wife, two charming kids. It’s the Connecticut suburbs of the 1950s. Life is easy-going; traditions and manners appeat to matter above all else.
The dream unravels when Cathy finds Frank in the arms of a man. In postwar America, homosexuality was a curable disease. All you needed was drugs and rehabilitative therapy. The desperate Whitakers turn to an “expert.” But guilt-ridden Frank, weighed down by inadequacy, drifts from the marriage. Cathy befriends widower Raymond (Dennis Haysbert), the polite and well-spoken gardener. He’s black. Racism will kill both the relationship and the Whitaker family dream.
Writer-director Todd Haynes masterfully choreographs the emotional rawness that lurks beneath a veneer of flawless appearances. Connecticut’s autumn foliage is a stunning backdrop to a sublime film.