Imitation of Life Review

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10/3/11
Black Pop Culture.
Imation of Life Film Review
“Imitation of Life” is a coveted 1959 classic that brings about memories of a time when fair skinned black people felt obliged to revoke their heritage and cultures in attempt to “pass” for a better life. In a modern time of social equality, this direct problem is not as evident, but many people still try to portray people they are not in order to be accepted by a certain group. This is an important film because it shows real life situations of how both sides of the spectrum looked at black people, and those who were caught “passing”. The story chronicles the lives of Lora, Annie, and their daughters Susie and Sarah Jane. The film begins with Lora and Annie at Coney Island where their daughters become playmates. Annie shocks Lora when she explains that she is not, seemingly white, Sarah Jane’s nanny, but actually her black mother. Annie explains to her that Sarah Jane’s “practically white” father is long gone, and they have no place to go. The fact that she says practically white is interesting because it leaves room for you to imagine whether or not he really was Caucasian, and it that small wording difference seems to help Lora digest the news better. Sarah Jane’s color struck behavior continues throughout her childhood with various instances. For example, Susie offers Sarah Jane her black doll, but she instead takes the white doll from her. Another example, Sarah Jane cuts Susie to see if their blood was the same. Also, when the question arose of what color Jesus was, Sarah Jane fills the void by saying “He was white… like me”. The film seems to revolve around Lora and her acting career, but the main premise of the story is actually the identity struggle between Annie and Sarah Jane. Because Sarah Jane “looks” white she travels around the country blending in as a normal white woman. Annie however finds her on multiple occasions and entices her to be true to herself by coming home and attending a black...
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