All That Heaven Allows ★★★★½

88

Douglas Sirk captures gossip and high-class pettiness as vicious language destined to tear family units out internally, sizzling in an attempt to fulfill a reorganization of status and force outsiders to succumb to the dominance of social position. Ron's apathy provides a muted tension which only blares - in stunning, succulent color - when Cary's inner circle (both familial/societal) rises to the pitch of an attack, snarling and spitting when their own exterior is affected by a loving couple separated by class. As such, the middle portion of All That Heaven Allows should be seen as a Technicolor Horror, an angry, 'in the moment' response to a genuine romance. Kicker for me is when Ned answers Cary's phone call with a normal demeanor after previously being bathed in blazing red/electric blue light after shunning his mother. Words hurt, but in Sirk's world, they're currency for stature.

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