Wednesday, November 30, 2011

All That Heaven Allows

In 2002, Todd Haynes released Far from Heaven. It was his tribute to director Douglas Sirk. The two movies of Sirk's that were influences on Far from Heaven were Imitation of Life and All That Heaven Allows.

All That Heaven Allows may have a trite plot (a widow in a love affair with a younger man) and a flimsy script, but Sirk has us look over these small details for the much grander ones of the film. It's a bold move, but Sirk has done it frequently in his career.

The grander details in question are what Sirk toys with constantly: lighting, color and framing. All three are applied to Cary (Jane Wyman) throughout. After her affair with Ron (Rock Hudson) starts, she goes from wearing dull shades to vivid colors. When the affair ends, she's shot in the shadows frequently. Also, she's framed in many objects (mirror, doorway, window pane) to show she's trapped to the conformities of her town.

All That Heaven Allows isn't just about a love affair that is frowned upon. It's about one's desire to break free of the hypocrisy they face from those closest to them. After all, haven't you had that desire?

My Rating: ****1/2


  1. Just realized I haven't seen this film- going in my Netflix queue now. Great review!

  2. I love this movie. Sirk knew how to do big melodrama that doesn't apoligize for itself and I admire that greatly, especially here.


Comments are appreciated. More so if they are appropriate.