All That Heaven Allows
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Time Out saysOn the surface a glossy tearjerker about the problems besetting a love affair between an attractive middle class widow and her younger, 'bohemian' gardener, Sirk's film is in fact a scathing attack on all those facets of the American Dream widely held dear. Wealth produces snobbery and intolerance; family togetherness creates xenophobia and the cult of the dead; cosy kindness can be stultifyingly patronising; and materialism results in alienation from natural feelings. Beneath the stunningly lovely visuals - all expressionist colours, reflections, and frames-within-frames, used to produce a precise symbolism - lies a kernel of terrifying despair created by lives dedicated to respectability and security, given its most harrowing expression when Wyman, having given up her affair with Hudson in order to protect her children from gossip, is presented with a television set as a replacement companion. Hardly surprising that Fassbinder chose to remake the film as Fear Eats the Soul.