Imitation of Life 1959

Imitation of Life

Critics Consensus

Douglas Sirk enriches this lush remake of Imitation of Life with racial commentary and a sharp edge, yielding a challenging melodrama with the power to devastate.

81%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 27

91%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,589

Where to watch

Show all services

Rate And Review

User image

Verified

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)



  • You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Step 2 of 2

    How did you buy your ticket?

    Let's get your review verified.

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

    You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)

  • How did you buy your ticket?

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

Imitation of Life Photos

Movie Info

Lora Meredith (Lana Turner), a white single mother who dreams of being on Broadway, has a chance encounter with Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore), a black widow. Annie becomes the caretaker of Lora's daughter, Suzie (Sandra Dee), while Lora pursues her stage career. Both women deal with the difficulties of motherhood: Lora's thirst for fame threatens her relationship with Suzie, while Annie's light-skinned daughter, Sarah Jane (Susan Kohner), struggles with her African-American identity.

Cast & Crew

Lana Turner
Lora Meredith
John Gavin
Steve Archer
Sandra Dee
Susie, age 16
Dan O'Herlihy
David Edwards
Susan Kohner
Sarah Jane, age 18
Robert Alda
Allen Loomis
Juanita Moore
Annie Johnson
Mahalia Jackson
Choir soloist
Fannie Hurst
Writer
Sammy Fain
Original Music
Frank Skinner
Original Music
Henry Mancini
Original Music
Russell Metty
Cinematographer
Milton Carruth
Film Editor
Show all Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for Imitation of Life

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for Imitation of Life

  • Apr 23, 2016
    A lavish, touching melodrama that remains always focused and held together even when trying to flesh out the personal conflicts of so many characters - which it does in a way that is quite realistic and sincere despite how in the end Sirk tries way too hard to force us into tears.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 29, 2011
    The story begins in post WWII NYC when Lana Turner (in the role of a struggling actress) hires a maid Annie (Juanita Moore) to work for and live with Turner and her then 7 year old daughter (same age as the maid's little girl). Times are tough at first, but the foursome gets on fine. Only little Sarah Jane (the maid's daughter) has constant trouble accepting her color and her "African American" mother whom she blames for preventing her from trying to pass off as white. Years pass, the family gains a good fortune and the girls grow up to young women, but life is not just constant bliss: the racial self-hatred of Sarah Jane (now played by Susan Kohner) is seriously affecting her life and self-image and she never misses the opportunity to degrade and humiliate her Mom for just being a maid while the teenaged Susie (Sandra Dee) develops feelings for Steve Archer (John Gavin), the potential fiancé of Lora which predictably leads to trouble. Ostensibly Lana Turner portrays the main character. Hers is the familiar, rags-to-riches tale, made even more glamorous by its show business context. But by the end of the film, her story is secondary. What makes this movie fascinating are the scenes between long suffering Annie and her daughter Sarah Jane. This is definitely a tear jerker so be sure to have a box of tissues for the film's conclusion.
    Deb S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 20, 2011
    Douglas Sirk's classic weepy about our innate tendency to inadvertantly drive away the ones we love the most. Lana Turner and Juanita Moore give particularly outstanding performances.
    Bob O Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    Sometimes this movie is overly melodramatic, and gets on my nerves a little, but the story is really good and very realistic. This is a remake of the thirties film, but it's slightly better made. It's a really good movie, and I recommend seeing it.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

Imitation of Life Quotes

Movie & TV guides