For Reel

All That Heaven Allows (1955)
May 27, 2011, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Douglas Sirk

In All That Heaven Allows, Douglas Sirk consciously subverts the gender expectations dictated by the medium by characterizing the male of the relationship, Rock Hudson, as a sexualized feminine presence. The film also comments on the societal expectations placed on women through Jane Wyman’s character, who finds herself liberated following the death of her husband. One interpretation of the film might suggest that Hudson’s character is a homosexual – not merely with the knowledge of the actor’s own personal life, but in the sense that he is an aged bachelor who enjoys garden work and fixing up the home (characteristics which, in the language of classical Hollywood, are decidedly feminine). The position that Wyman takes in the relationship at the end of the film, on the other hand, is not sexual, but one signified as being motherly and caregiving, whereas Hudson’s relationship with a male friend earlier in the film is one of more customarily romantic mutual idolatry.

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