Imitation of Life (1958)
Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 23
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 4
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 2
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 9,013
This glamorized remake of the 1934 film Imitation of Life bears only a passing resemblance to its source, the best-selling novel by Fannie Hurst. Originally, the heroine was a widowed mother who kept the wolf from the door by setting up a successful pancake business with her black housemaid. In the remake, Lana Turner stars as a would-be actress who is raising her daughter on her own. She chances to meet another single mother at the beach: African-American Juanita Moore. Moore goes to work as
Jan 1, 1958 Limited
Jan 7, 2003
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Sara Jane (older)
Sara Jane (younger)
Susie Meredith at 6
Imitation of Life is still a potent onion. When passed before the moviegoer's eyes, it may force theater owners to install aisle scuppers to drain off the tears.
While this device lends more scope, it also results in the overdone busy actress/neglected daughter conflict.
This modernized remake of Miss Hurst's frankly lachrymose tale is much the same as its soggy predecessor. It is the most shameless tear-jerker in a couple of years.
Forget those who decry the '50s Hollywood melodrama; it is through the conventions of that hyper-emotional genre that Sirk is able to make such a devastatingly embittered and pessimistic movie.
Douglas Sirk's 1959 film was the biggest grosser in Universal's history until the release of Airport, yet it's also one of the most intellectually demanding films ever made in Hollywood.
You'll be horrified at how this hokum manipulates you, but the best strategy is to just surrender and enjoy it.
[VIDEO] Set in postwar New York, "Imitation of Life" is a wonderfully deceptive film.
What [the characters] need most from their maker is something he couldn't have given them at the time: the 1960s.
Glossy soaper ahead of its racially themed time.
Douglas Sirk's last Hollywood film is the jewel in his crown, a visually audacious, powerfully acted melodrama, with Lana Turner and Juanita Moore in top form, that was misunderstood and dismissed at the time as just a weepie or soap opera.
Sirk immediately and deliberately acknowledges the film's metaphoric, almost pathological obsession with surfaces.
Review Imitation Of Life is another of those Douglas Sirk melodramas that no critic had a good word to say about at the time of their release but are now widely considered movie masterpieces.
The film is a biting critique of American race relations in the Fifties and a complex study in contrasts and paradoxes.
Audience Reviews for Imitation of Life
- Lora Meredith: I'm going up and up and up. And no one's going to pull me down. [ambitious actress telling husband she's no housewife]
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- Solange es Menschen gibt (DE)
- Mirage de la vie (FR)