All That Heaven Allows

All That Heaven Allows ★★★★★

A cozy film that accelerates into the most dastardly what will people think?! crescendo of perfectly orchestrated and visualized selfishness. From Jane Wyman's kids crying about potentially losing their home (that is their mothers and that they only visit), to a fight with a boyfriend over a rumor on her, to receiving a phone call that their mother is choosing them over her love, to complete abandonment at the train station after the kids get everything they want and their mother just gets a television set. That's not even all that happens in a perfect 20 minutes of conflict but it is perhaps the greatest single act in a melodrama. And Douglas Sirk's camera, which always loved mirrors, zooms in on the reflection of the television to frame Wyman's widow as her kids place her in a box and leave her to live their own lives happy they were able to control hers to potentially just live out another 40 years of "decency" respecting their father's long gone shadow.

All That Heaven Allows gets cozy and heart-swelling again, but it's the engagement announcement through the Christmas special delivery is what makes it a masterpiece. Stained glass-lit sobbing to boot!

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