Thursday 22 December 2022

Movie Review: Imitation Of Life (1959)

Genre: Drama
Director: Douglas Sirk
Starring: Lana Turner, John Gavin, Juanita Moore, Sandra Dee, and Susan Kohner
Running Time: 125 minutes

Synopsis: In 1947, single mothers Lora (Lana Turner) and Annie (Juanita Moore), who is Black, meet at Coney Island. Lora is poor and lives in a cramped apartment with her daughter Susie, but welcomes Annie as a housekeeper along with her daughter Sarah Jane, who can pass as white. The two women become lifelong friends. Lora is romantically pursued by photographer Steve (John Gavin) but sacrifices personal happiness to pursue her dream of becoming a star actress. A decade later, Susie (Sandra Dee) has to contend with a celebrity mother, while Sarah Jane (Susan Kohner) wants to pass as white and is embarrassed by her Black mother.

What Works Well: Douglas Sirk's final film is a notable achievement, tackling multiple progressive themes with admirable sensitivity. The travails of single mothers, balancing professional ambitions with motherhood, and the real pressures on a mixed-race daughter fuel the drama, while the core friendship between Lora and Annie sustains the narrative. Brisk pacing enables coverage of impressive domestic and career material within two hours, complemented by handsome set designs and lush cinematography.

What Does Not Work As Well: The emotions are over-torqued, including an over-the-top finale, befitting performances more theatrical than cinematic.

Conclusion: An attractive social drama, anchored by serious issues and brimming with memorable characters.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome reader comments about this post.