All That Heaven Allows

All That Heaven Allows ★★★★★

“All That Heaven Allows” is a flaming little comet of revolution wrapped up in a sumptuous and tidy wrapper of 50’s idealism. 

Douglas Sirk’s masterpiece is filled with lush color images that would make any Madison Avenue ad exec drool into his high ball glass. What makes “Heaven” a classic though - is that Sirk constructs this beauty, and proceeds to reject it all outright. 

“Heaven” turns a new TV set into an alarming omen of domestic horror, a meticulously decorated Christmas tree into a tease of handcuffed liberation. 

Sirk not only creates a fantasy fable against growing materialism, but also one of the more humanistic portrayals of a woman ever put to film. 

Jane Wyman’s character of Cary Scott is not just a housewife and a widow ... she’s also *gasp* middle aged. In an era delirious with the charm of youth, Sirk gives Cary a kindness not typically afforded to women in Hollywood movies, let alone women over 40. 

“Heaven” is a rejection of capitalist excess, but Sirk has managed to make it as cozy as a worn flannel shirt. It’s a uniquely and essentially American call to revolution.

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