“All That Heaven Allows” is a 1955 American romantic drama film about a difficult love between a widow and a young man. Directed by Douglas Sirk. 89 minutes.
An affluent middle-aged widow, Cary Scott (Jane Wyman) lives in Stoningham in suburban New England. She has two children (son and daughter) in college, but they come back home only on weekends. Some men are making romantic advances to her at a members-only social club, but she doesn’t feel like remarrying.
One day, she becomes intimate with a young man Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson), who owns a tree nursery, and has worked as a gardener for the Scott family, taking over the job from his father.
Ron is a naturalist influenced by Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden; or, Life in the Woods” (1854), and he enjoys a simple life without regard for wealth and status.
Though Ron retires from his work as a gardener and starts focusing on plant cultivation, Cary and Ron become attracted to each other.
Ron proposes to Cary, and Cary decides to marry Ron, but Cary’s upper-class friends, who are conservative and parochial, react negatively to their marriage because of their class difference, and spread malicious rumors about Cary.
Cary breaks up with Ron because Cary’s children are also completely against their marriage. However, she feels bad that she cared about how people see her and didn’t follow through on her intention, and she is going to meet Ron again. Just then, Ron is seriously injured from a fall from a cliff.
The film is a sweet melodrama characterized by its artificial beautiful colors by use of Technicolor, and one of masterpieces directed by Douglas Sirk in the Universal Pictures in the 1950s.
Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson co-starred with each other again in the film, following their first co-starring film “Magnificent Obsession” (1954) directed by Douglas Sirk.
As an homage to “All That Heaven Allows” and Sirk’s other works, Rainer Werner Fassbinder directed “Ali: Fear Eats the Soul” (1974), and Todd Haynes directed “Far from Heaven” (2002). Fassbinder’s “Ali: Fear Eats the Soul” is a film like a remake of “All That Heaven Allows”.