All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. 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.
A deer enters the scene during the final image, as if to suggest that this union of widow Cary Scott (Jane Wyman) and Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson), her former gardener turned tree farmer, has been enshrined by God and Nature. Melodrama is a genre uniquely capable of fashioning such transcendental pairings, couples that simply must be together, and Sirk cultivates images of his couple that take them out of the coarse, material world and raise them up, turning them into icons, situating them in tableaux that would be familiar to the great religious painters of the Renaissance. He will either join them together against a natural backdrop of some sort, the kind that evokes the pastoralia of the great Romantic…
i braced myself for disappointment at the start of this vaunted classic i've been dodging for years-- but i needn't have worried. it seems that growing up in soulless white suburbia, reading thoreau as a kid and knowing there was something- anything- beyond the nightmare of bourgeois conformity was just preparing me for this moment. i'm still stunned at how hard it hit me. my parents never understood but sirk did, and long before i was born
"Cary, let's face it: you were ready for a love affair, but not for love."
Lately I've been fascinated with melodrama, in particular the way its priorities differ from the expectations of what we might loosely refer to as a "good film". In general, we seem to want relatable characters in realistic situations which in turn evoke an emotional response; but in melodrama, everything is backwards. As Sidney Lumet once said, "In a well-written drama, the story comes out of the characters. The characters in a well-written melodrama come out of the story." Perhaps this is why the term has come to take on pejorative connotations in recent years: in melodrama, emotion comes first, even if it's at the expense…
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?
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…
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."
Pinnacle of visual beauty & heartbreaking melodramatic indictment of 50s.
What preserves All That Heaven Allows against melodramatic wobbliness is the sincerity the movie has with itself, and the real love Sirk holds for his characters. When these characters die, I like to imagine Sirk is the one opening the gates of heaven for them, giving them congratulations and thumbs up, and maybe a nice red apple for the long road ahead. At the very least, I can imagine that Sirk is the kind of guy hurt more by the fact that heaven may not exist at all, hurt not for himself but for others, for the people in his life who deserve something like happiness after so much withheld torture. That's the warmth I feel when I watch a…
Ah class systems, so difficult to traverse even when it's with someone as good looking as Rock Hudson. When will widows learn.
The story of a very narrow-minded town keeping a somewhat narrow-minded woman from her happiness can be annoying and a bit inane, but that is kind of the point. More importantly, the colors and compositions are unbelievable. Every time we get a shot with that big window I was transported to another world.
Heaven should not allow this film
I'm glad that I've watched my first Douglas Sirk film as late as I have. If I saw it at a younger age, I don't think I would enjoyed the film's strongly feminine point of view.
Widely considered to be one of the best romantic movies of all time. Once upon a time there were romantic themed movies that were not dead eyed formulaic feather light chick flicks. A story about two people in love being ostracized by "friends" and family for being involved in a less traditional relationship and trying to be true to themselves instead of caring soley about conformity.
She's a conservative well to do widow; he's a chiseled flannel wearing follower of Thoreau.
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 196/776 (25%)