All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1154. An easy way of seeing how…
All That Heaven Allows
How much does Heaven Allow a Woman in Love?
Friends and family want a rich widow to end her romance with a tree surgeon about 15 years her junior.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
God, the production design and cinematography, yes, and the withering portrait of repressive values, but sometimes I think that the artistic virtues of Sirk, of which there are many, are stressed as a means of justifying his chosen field of women's pictures, when even on a script level this is such a compelling movie, and so forcefully acted that its subtext, however key to the picture, is still the subtext under a direct swirl of emotions. It's all great, is what I'm saying. Why has it taken me so long to really dig into Sirk?
Am reminded of a George Carlin joke - "the best thing about living on the beach is that you only have assholes coming at you from three sides."
Douglas Sirk said that films need violence, a statement that some may find surprising, especially considering this one: an admittedly sappy melodrama about seemingly impossible love. But I think the most violent act in his films is a subtle (though effective) one that can be found within the so-called happy ending. He fulfills 50s Hollywood's need for perfectly wrapped up conclusion where everything is right and nothing is left unresolved- or at least this is what it's disguised as.
When the rest of the film is steeped in social problems and conflict, simply tying it up by having the protagonist follow their heart and topping it off by making it sickenly visually beautiful to the point of total falsity is…
I've been trying to come up with ways to condense what I want to say about this, but there's so much that it seems impossible to do, particularly between tasks at work, which is where I do most of my writing these days for better or worse (definitely the latter). But I'm still thinking about the way Sirk paints the frame with color and light, and the way something as simple as a television set can be a massive imposing presence in a room, sucking all the life out of it (and how Sirk angles it so that it reflects the flame in the fireplace, reasserting its presence). And just everything about the final shot. It's too much to put into words.
"It's all so pointless"
A deer in the snow
Never before have white people
Suffered so beautifully
Mona is a ginormous bitch
An interesting social observation, but the short running time and lack of character sympathy creates difficulties in forging empathic concern for the protagonist. It has undoubtedly, unfortunately and perhaps predictably lost its bite over the decades; but nevertheless through the strength of the story and direction it still proves to be engaging, and despite a trite Hollywood ending, is watchable and enjoyable throughout.
I don't think I've ever seen such transcendental imagery and storytelling in a melodrama before. The scenery in film contains unrivaled pastoral beauty. Its opulence without overbearing complexity. So much time and effort went into the lighting and staging of this film that every thematic concern the story muses over is contained within the compositions of the shot.
The story itself is not one that precedes its reputation. Its pure and fundamental melodrama through and through, but that is not a criticism rather a warning for the majorly cynical. This story is not realistic. This is forced at points. This story does value poeticism over anything else.
Beautiful and romantic. A tribute to the cycles of nature and its effects on the human mind. A meditation on beauty and wealth. A perfect film to watch at the end of summer and the beginning of autumn
first of all this movie is prefect.
it has so much layers to it, its a story about lonliness, small town mentallty and yes its above all love story
One of my favorite images in the film is when Cary (Jane Wyman) consoles her daughter Kay (Gloria Talbott) in the bedroom upstairs. The two approach the circular window at the far end of her room and its rainbow refraction reflects on their faces— their faces are illuminated with the hazy hues of rainbows and pastels. Contrasted with the dull, almost brass-colored reflection that the television screen downstairs generates, the real, natural light upstairs has a vibrancy that film can only capture when its bands are spread apart in a rainbow.
These are the moments when Sirk's film is most emotionally resonant, when his characters bear witness to an apparition of the natural in the very midst of their own homes— whether it's pure sunlight, the branches and leaves of a tree, or a deer in a window.
Things I noticed after a double feature of this and THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER:
-Both movies have exquisite composition and photography. So many moments from both could double as paintings.
-Both movies came out in 1955.
-Both movies have Christmas in them.
-Both movies prominently feature woodland creatures.
-Both movies have gossiping busybodies (or just plain busybodies) that force people to do things out of fear.
-Both movies feature extremely impudent children.
Somehow I think this actually tops Sirk's other genius melodrama, Imitation of Life. The romance between Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman is truly moving, and there's a lot of profound subtext to be found in the film. Also, my god the cinematography is drop dead gorgeous which is not an expression I normally use to describe visuals in a film!
A bold, handsome melodrama with an aching soul.
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” --Walden
This movie swings from restriction to restful retreat. Back and forth. The fussy acrylic homes and society bear down until it's hard to breathe and escape is all that I can think of. It gets more claustrophobic as a contrasting alternative is presented in all it's uncomplicated quietude. A sigh of relief, before being thrust back into a world of mannered interactions and societal expectations. Ugh. I had to pause and go sit on my porch, just to clear away those oppressive obligations. I love what this movie is saying, even if it's driving me crazy making its point.
You really can't overstate how gorgeous this movie is; not only the Technicolor cinematography but the costuming, the sets and the art direction are all beautiful to behold. ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS isn't a superficial film, though, but a subversive one. Beneath that lovely exterior you'll find a critique of the classist attitudes and obsession with conformity and materialism that ran rampant in America in the 1950's (and of course which still exist today to a thankfully smaller degree).
Of course, this is a melodrama so everything is bold and exaggerated but it all works. The scene where Jane Wyman's character, Cary Scott, has to congratulate her children on their happiness after she sacrificed her own for their sake is…
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
- Citizen Kane
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Tokyo Story
- The Rules of the Game
- Grand Illusion
- Seven Samurai
- The Lady Vanishes
- The 400 Blows
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 160/739