Imitation of Life

Watch Imitation of Life

"Fannie Hurst's best selling novel of today's tormented generation!"
  • NR
  • 1959
  • 2 hr 5 min
  • 7.8  (17,936)
  • 87

In Imitation of Life, the 1959 drama film directed by Douglas Sirk and starring Lana Turner, John Gavin and Sandra Dee, two single mothers from different social backgrounds team up in order to raise their daughters and make the most of their lives. However, their journey towards happiness and success is challenged by the society's prejudices and their personal struggles, leading to a heart-wrenching exploration of identity, love and sacrifice.

The movie begins with Lora Meredith (Lana Turner), a struggling but ambitious actress who meets Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore), a kind-hearted African American widow who works as a housekeeper. Despite coming from different worlds, the two women connect over their shared desire for a better life for themselves and their children. Lora invites Annie and her daughter Sarah Jane (Susan Kohner) to live with them and help her take care of her daughter Susie (Sandra Dee).

As the years pass, Lora becomes a successful actress while Annie continues to work as her housekeeper. However, Annie's own daughter Sarah Jane struggles with her racial identity and the discrimination she faces as a light-skinned African American. She rebels against her mother's wishes and passes as white, leading to heartbreaking conflicts between mother and daughter.

Meanwhile, Lora's relationship with Steve Archer (John Gavin), a journalist and her mentor, becomes a source of tension and passion. Their differing views on love, success and commitment put their bond to the test, as they both strive to pursue their individual dreams.

Throughout the movie, the themes of identity, race and gender are explored through the characters' experiences and emotions, as they navigate the challenges of living in a society that values conformity and appearances. The film's cinematography and music add to its emotional impact, with rich colors and sweeping melodies that enhance its melodramatic effect.

The acting performances are also a highlight of the movie, with Lana Turner delivering a nuanced portrayal of a complex and ambitious woman who struggles with her own desires and responsibilities. Juanita Moore's portrayal of Annie is also outstanding, capturing the pain and strength of a mother who sacrifices everything for her daughter's sake, while Susan Kohner delivers a powerful performance as Sarah Jane, capturing the confusion and anguish of a young woman caught between two worlds.

In the end, Imitation of Life is a poignant and thought-provoking movie that explores the human condition with honesty and sensitivity. Its themes of love, sacrifice and discrimination still resonate today, making it a timeless classic that continues to inspire and move audiences decades after its release.

Imitation of Life is a 1959 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 5 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.8 and a MetaScore of 87.

Imitation of Life
Where to Watch Imitation of Life
Imitation of Life is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Imitation of Life for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 5 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.8  (17,936)
  • Metascore