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Imitation of Life

Classics and Drama movie directed by Douglas Sirk

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Stylish soaper

  • Oct 9, 2011
  • by
The bond between two single mothers, one black and one white, and their daughters is the subject of this wonderful movie. Lora Meredith (Lana Turner), a struggling actress, meets homeless and unemployed domestic Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore); moved by Annie's plight and in need of help, Lora takes Annie and her daughter Sarah Jane into her home. As the years pass, Lora becomes the toast of Broadway while steadfast Annie suffers horribly because Sarah Jane is embarrassed by her mother's dark skin and wants to pass for white.

This 1959 film is full of fine performances and good writing that overcome the occasional clichés and soap-opera feel. Turner does put the 'melo' in this drama with her silly histrionics, but that's how her shallow and conceited character would act. Sandra Dee is good and perky as always as her teenage daughter, but the film belongs to Juanita Moore and Susan Kohner, who plays Sarah Jane. Their story line is the more interesting one, fraught with heartache and regrets. Moore is a wonderful actress and quite often moved me to tears with her quiet, unconditional love in spite of her daughter's rejection. Sarah Jane should have been played by a black actress, but Kohner is excellent.

This is a movie that can be enjoyed over and over. The wardrobe is lovely, the sets colorful, and the dialogue is realistic. Recommended. 

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More Imitation of Life reviews
review by . December 12, 2008
Pros: ...     Cons: ...     The Bottom Line:   "Inside my imagination  There is an imitation of life  You captured me for an instant  Still in your camera and in your life"  ~Electronic         Imitation of Life was released when times and outlooks were different than they are today.  The ‘color' line has become more blended today, but back in the early 50's …
review by . March 10, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
One of the great Hollywood melodramas, IMITATION OF LIFE is based on the book by Fannie Hurst and is directed with style and emotion by Douglas Sirk.A chance meeting throws together Lora Meredith (Lana Turner) and Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore), two struggling widows who both have troubled relationships with their daughters. Lora is a Broadway starlet intent on hitting the big time, which will come at the cost of her daughter Susie (Sandra Dee), while Annie's daughter Sarah Jane (Susan Kohner) is …
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About this movie


Two widowed friends, Bea and Delilah, with young daughters build a life and a fortune together; As years go on, their friendship deepens but their relationship with their daughters become strained.
Genre:Feature Film-Drama
Release Date:22-AUG-2006
Media Type:DVD
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Director: Douglas Sirk
Genre: Classics, Drama
DVD Release Date: January 7, 2003
Runtime: 125 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
First to Review

"a true classic"
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