Imitation of Life | 1959

Directed by: Douglas Sirk

Imitation of Life Poster

Main Plot

Imitation of Life follows the lives of two women from different backgrounds who form an unlikely friendship. As they navigate personal struggles and societal challenges, their bond is tested. The film explores themes of race, identity, and the pursuit of happiness in 1950s America.


  • Lana Turner played Lora Meredith, a struggling actress and single mother who becomes a successful Broadway star.
  • John Gavin plays the character of a love interest and potential suitor for one of the main female characters.
  • Sandra Dee played the character of Susie, a young girl who becomes friends with Sarah Jane and faces racial discrimination.

Ending Explained

In the ending of "Imitation of Life," Sarah Jane attends her mother's funeral, where she finally confronts her own identity and the consequences of denying her African-American heritage. Lora, devastated by her daughter's rejection, finds solace in Annie's daughter, who has embraced her racial background. As Sarah Jane breaks down, she realizes the love and sacrifice her mother made for her. The film concludes with Sarah Jane tearfully embracing her true identity, acknowledging her mother's love, and seeking reconciliation with her own heritage.

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Douglas Sirk Lana Turner John Gavin Sandra Dee