All That Heaven Allows ★★★★★

I don't think I've seen this one -- one of my all-time favorites -- in more than ten years, so it was interesting to revisit it and see that it was even better than I remembered. I remembered the intense Sirk-Metty color schemes, of course: they split almost every scene into divided sections of intensely deep orange and intensely wintery, icy blues. But my memory was that everything associated with Jayne Wyman's domestic life was icy blue and everything associated with Rock Hudson's Waldenesque existence was burning orange. But it's just the opposite, in fact. From the opening scenes before she meets Hudson, Wyman's home is split in half between the two colors. And then, when she visits Rock at his home in the country, his place, too, is equally divided between orange and blue. In fact, the night they discuss getting married, they don't walk from the frigid blue of her bourgeois existence into the comforting orange of his natural world, as we'd expect. No, on the contrary, they acknowledge their love for each other by walking towards his window and looking out over the most frigid and icy blue landscape you've ever seen. It's easy to recall that her children want to control her, to ignore her feelings, and to force her to gaze upon her own lifeless image in that horrifyingly symbolic TV screen. But Rock Hudson is just as unbending as her children are. He refuses to meet her half way; she is the one who must change her life to meet his. And the ending, which so many people read as a beautiful resolution even today, is so dark: she gazes down lovingly at his comatose body, eager to love him in a world enveloped by ice, as lifeless as he is, with only the faintest glimmer of hope.