Imitation Of Life

Please Note: This film is no longer showing at Railroad Square Cinema

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“The toughest-minded, most irresolvable movie ever made about race in this country. For all its reputation as a relentless tearjerker, this story of Annie, a black maid trying to hold on to a light-skinned daughter determined to pass as white, is characterized by director Douglas Sirk’s deeply ironic control. That’s most apparent in Sirk’s handling of Lana Turner as Lora, Annie’s boss, the generous stage star who is nonetheless oblivious that the opportunities she takes for granted aren’t available to everyone. What makes the movie so thorny is that Lora’s is the world Annie’s daughter Sarah Jane aspires to—and Sirk refuses to judge her for that. Sirk lays out the life Sarah Jane would settle for and dares us to impugn her desire to escape. The depth and bitterness of Sirk’s irony, his refusal to provide easy answers, shames those who’d bring any less to this American masterpiece.”—Charles Taylor, Village Voice. 1959 Unrated. 125 Min.