Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sight & Sound Challenge: Imitation of Life (1959)

Film: Imitation of Life (190/250) 
First Time/Rewatch: First Time

UGH, this movie was a knife in the heart. I'm glad I watched it alone, if only to fully sob my eyes out without getting sideway glances from whoever might see me. Lana Turner plays model/actress Lora Meredith who hires Annie (Juanita Moore) to be her live-in housekeeper. Annie is black, and her daughter Sarah Jane (played as an adult by Susan Kohner) is mixed and can pass for white. Her daughter is resentful of her mixed heritage and wants to live her life like any other white person. The relationship between Annie and Sarah Jane carries the film. Lora and her daughter Susie (Sandra Dee) have their own drama and there's a douchey love interest, but that part of the film didn't captivate me nearly as much as the anguish between Sarah Jane and her mother. It's truly heartbreaking from beginning to end. I couldn't bring myself to judge either of these characters, no matter what they might put each other through. Of course being a Douglas Sirk film, it looked absolutely beautiful as well. I'm so happy I finally got to watch this (thanks TCM!) and I'm interested in rewatching some of Sirk's other films. It's been too long.

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