All That Heaven Allows

All That Heaven Allows ★★★★½

If this was set today Ron would be a microbrewer who lives in a barn in Alberta that he converted himself, don't try and change my mind.

In all seriousness, there's really nothing I can say about Sirk's movies and what they mean to me that hasn't been said before. Fassbinder's remark about how they were the first movies to show women thinking has always stuck in my mind, but I think what I find fascinating about them is their decision to show the continuation of a woman's life, her sadnesses and her aspirations, her flaws, virtues, mistakes, sexual life, and dreams after she's married. No other movie from that era shows the married woman as exactly the same person as the unmarried one -- it's as if their three-dimensionality ends the minute they say "I do." Sirk's unmarried young women, usually teenagers, are equally as three-dimensional, both more flawed and more human than the silly, juvenile caricature that they so often are in other movies of the time. The message of All That Heaven Allows is lightyears ahead of the 50s -- that a woman's purpose is not to live for her husband, dead or alive, or her children, young or grown, but for herself.

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