Director: Douglas Sirk
Sometimes you just need a good cry. This is the movie to make you do it whether you like it or not.
Way back in the mid-90's when I was going through film school, we, of course, had screenings of films. The movies were curated and representative of a variety of eras, forms, genres, etc... all tee'd up to illustrate whatever the instructors planned to discuss that week. It's a weird way to do homework, but we saw some great stuff. Also, I got to learn to sit with films that were never going to be my cup of tea, especially at age 19 or so.
One of the films shown was Imitation of Life, a 1959 melodrama spanning decades and following a young, widowed white woman, Lora (Lana Turner), who teams up with an African-American single mother, Annie (Juanita Moore), to jointly raise daughters of a similar age.
It's actually a remake of a film I haven't seen from 1934, starring Claudette Colbert and Louise Beavers. And one day I'll watch that one, too.
During the same meet-cute where Annie and Lora meet, Steve (John Gavin) appears as a photographer, indirectly getting Lora her first gig and - as this is Lana Turner - deciding to woo her. Lora welcomes Annie and her daughter into their humble apartment, and as Annie settles into triple role of housekeeper, best friend, co-mother, Lora's dreams of success on the stage suddenly take off.