Movie Monday: All That Heaven Allows 1955
When you watch a 1950's movie, you might expect the social clich?s that often cast a dark shadow on our memories of the era. All That Heaven Allows not only leaves room for those stereotypes, but centers around them for the main structure of the plot. What happens when a widow, past the "prime" of her life is left alone with an empty nest and a longing for her (gasp!) gardener? Well, neighbors will scoff and children will buy her a television set to ease her lonliness. But it would seem that nobody in her life thinks it appropriate that she find love, in a younger man, the second time around.
Cary, a rich widow with overly opinionated collegiate children, is left alone in a large house, with more yardword than she could manage. It's only natural that she maintain the gardener her husband had hired for their lawn care, but she is a little unsettled when romantic feelings begin to develop. When rumors begin to circulate about her relationship with the handsome young gardener, her children cry out against it and claim that she is ruining their lives. So who will she choose? Her children, or the new love that offers her a happy future without lonliness?
It's pretty entertaining to watch the story unfold, and to be unnerved by the snobby community, entitled children, and social environment the widow endures. The story is well paced, with subtle character development and climactic plot points. You might cringe at the heavy-handedness of some of the symbolism, but it's a nice touch for the sappier audience.
If you're a romantic, with interest in 1950's suburban culture and fashion, I think you will be a big fan of this film. And the handsome young gardener, played by none other than Rock Hudson, isn't hard on the eyes either.