A few evenings ago I saw the movie "Far from Heaven." It's a new movie, with beautiful cinematography, and artfully done--almost like an Alfred Hitchcock movie, though it is not a suspense film per se.
It takes place in Connecticut in 1957. Mr. & Mrs. Perfect, living in their perfect house, with their 2 perfect children, and a full time maid, in that "happy" time.
Except that no one's needs are getting met.
The "successful" husband has to work late all the time, and instead of coming home after work, he drinks more and more and explores and engages in a homosexual affair. Meanwhile the wife becomes overly friendly with the charming gardener, who happens to be black, which causes a furor in that closed-minded time.
This movie reminded me of so much of the dysfunction I either witnessed or felt while I was growing up. 1957 is the year I was born. I grew up in the northeast. We had a maid twice a week, and my mother was also a "housewife". And my dad, who was a dark, alcoholic, rageaholic, also sexually fondled me. Even though sexual abuse is not depicted in this movie, per se, sexual abuse sure would have thrived under the conditions it presented. I found the movie compelling and sad, and my emotional reaction was a little delayed. The next day, in a private moment, I found myself crying when the images of the movie came back to haunt me. The movie is about people who could not be authentic. People who could not meet the needs of their children. People who were desparately trying to do all the "accepted" things, at least to the outside world, thinking that's what makes you happy and whole. It showed me that societal times back then sure didn't promote healthy, authentic, family interactions. In a way, it helps me forgive my parents, who were such a product of that era.
Seeing the husband "act out" with his homosexual affairs was also somewhat triggering for me. Because of my own confused sexuality. I consider myself heterosexual, but by every measure, the way I was raised sure made homosexuality alluring to me, though I have never pursued that lifestyle. In my case, it has always been associated with a certain kind of darkness which I associate with my dad. That is not meant to be a condemnation, just a statement of my experience of it. And I believe, for myself, it stemmed from deep emotional needs that went so gapingly unmet while growing up. And of course, the sexual abuse I experienced at age 3,4,5, & 6.
So this movie, while done tastefully, and with a PG-13 rating, could be mildly triggering to you as a survivor. It was for me. I think mainly because it is into this kind of setting that abuse happens. The outside world thinks your family is wonderful. Meanwhile it's rotting from the inside. Sadness. Lonliness. Emotional pain. No where to go for help. All in a pretty surrounding. That's what growing up was like for me.