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Imitation of Life (1959)

HD   NR Closed Captioning

Douglas Sirk

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About the Movie

Living a lie is a poor substitute for living the truth - sometimes it takes the harsh realities of life to help us discover who we truly are. The legendary Lana Turner stars in this 1959 version of Fannie Hurst's emotionally charged drama, which chronicles two widows and their troubled daughters as they struggle to find true happiness amidst racial prejudice. Lana Turner plays Lora, a single white mother whose Hollywood starlet ambitions come at the expense of any meaningful relationship with her daughter, Susie (Sandra Dee). Lora's black housekeeper, Annie (Juanita Moore), has troubles of her own as she faces the rejection of her own fair-skinned daughter, Sarah Jane (Susan Kohner), who abandons her heritage for a chance to be accepted as white. As years of selfishness and denial pass, tragedy strikes and forces the women to come to terms with their own identities. Moore and Kohner were both Oscar®-nominated for "Best Supporting Actress" for their stirring performances. This lavish production, directed by Douglas Sirk (Magnificent Obsession), was a critical and commercial success, and today remains both a testament to its time and a beloved Hollywood classic.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 25
  • Fresh: 21
  • Rotten: 4
  • Average Rating: 7.7/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: This modernized remake of Miss Hurst's frankly lachrymose tale is much the same as its soggy predecessor. It is the most shameless tear-jerker in a couple of years. – Bosley Crowther, New York Times, May 20, 2011

Fresh: Imitation of Life is still a potent onion. When passed before the moviegoer's eyes, it may force theater owners to install aisle scuppers to drain off the tears. – TIME Magazine, May 20, 2011

Fresh: The toughest-minded, most irresolvable movie ever made about race in this country. – Charles Taylor, Village Voice, Mar 31, 2015

Fresh: Sirk unleashed a melodramatic torrent of rage at the corrupt core of American life-the unholy trinity of racism, commercialism, and puritanism. – Richard Brody, New Yorker, Nov 16, 2015

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

The first movie to ever make me cry. A great lesson on race relations.

I grew up in the 1960's in south Louisiana in a very racially segregated community. I was taught and shown as a child that blacks ( not just blacks, but anyone not white, Christian and straight ) were inferior to whites and were to be treated as such. I saw this movie the first time when I was six or seven years old and I credit it for changing my future and my feelings about my fellow humans. I am so glad this movie crossed my path at such a young age.

Imitation of life

One of my favs of all time

Good Tearjerker

Even though this movie was a remake of 30s version (with the same name), it still had me crying. If the death bed scene with Lana Turner and Juanita Moore doesn't have you weeping (or even the scene with the light-skinned daughter running after the black mother's coffin), then something is wrong with you!!!! Still a good tearjerker

Imitation of Life (1959)
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  • $14.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 1959

Customer Ratings