All That Heaven Allows ★★★★½

I can't shoot straight anymore.

Oh the joys, tribulations, and cattiness of repressed 1950s America.

In all seriousness, Sirk crafts a gorgeous and fiery condemnation of all that post-war Americana held dear: materialism, common niceties, and, of course, the still present hollow attack on anything that dare upend societal norms in the slightest, "family values".

Cary is a woman who, from the first frame, rejects these values wholly. She keeps her living room bereft of a television set, steadily grows coarser to the pressures of her neighbors, and raises her beautifully manicured middle finger to the hushed and horrified whispers that *gasp* Ron is younger and poorer than her. She's a single mother taking care of two college students - I see how much trouble I give my mom, I can't imagine having two of me.

Ron is a man who, from the first frame, embodies all that these values seek to repress. He's poor (but, damn, that house is gorgeous) and content being it. He's steadfast in not bending to societal pressure. And, he cares not that others judge him for having not "settled down". He's all that Thoreau admired and all that post-war America did not.

And, all of this is gorgeously rendered in saturated technicolor. Blues creep in and clash agains the crackling reds as Cary clashes within herself trying to slough off societal pressure while simultaneously bending to it. In a brilliant shot, Sirk frames her reflection in a brand new television set's screen adorned in a gaudy red bow. She's trapped by the materialistic, narcissistic, repressive society that surrounds her.

I give All that Heaven Allows a 4.5/5. This, along with Brief Encounter, is the peak of melodrama.

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