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1,954 Ratings

Imitation of Life

Directed by Douglas Sirk
United States, 1959
Drama, Romance


Sirk’s last movie in Hollywood, and last commercial picture, is the absolute triumph of melodrama—a coldly brilliant weepie, a tale of two intertwined families in which the materialist optimism is continually counterpointed by an emphasis upon racist tension and the degeneration of family bonds.

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Imitation of Life Directed by Douglas Sirk

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1960 | 2 nominations including: Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Directors Guild of America

1960 | Nominee: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures

Golden Globes (USA)

1960 | Winner: Best Supporting Actress

1960 | Nominee: Best Supporting Actress

In Imitation of Life (1959), though the most piercing of all Sirk’s mirror shots is of a despairing Sarah Jane and Annie in their indelible last meeting in a dressing room, Sirk stages, composes, and edits most of the scene for direct emotional effect.
April 09, 2018
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Sirk closed the 1950s — and his feature-filmmaking career — with Imitation of Life (1959), his most commercially successful movie. Its themes of mother-daughter love and abandonment, shame, and racial injustice provoked in many viewers at the time an endless flow of tears and can still bring on the waterworks today. I can’t recommend this or any of Sirk’s melodramas highly enough, whether for first-time or repeat viewers.
December 22, 2015
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Early in IMITATION OF LIFE, Lana Turner’s character says, “Maybe I should see things as they really are and not the way I want them to be.” Oh, the irony. In Douglas Sirk’s films, however, it doesn’t so much burn as blaze—so fiercely, in fact, that it’s not difficult to understand how the irony and subversiveness for which Sirk is known among the cinephile crowd was lost on popular audiences at the time.
July 31, 2015
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