Repertory Picks

Forbidden Love in Champaign

With Unruly Women, a monthly repertory series running through August, the Art Theater in Champaign, Illinois, is celebrating the defiant passions of some of cinema’s most fiercely independent female characters. On Monday evening, Douglas Sirk’s 1955 film All That Heaven Allows graces the big screen as the series’ June installment. One of the director’s most emotionally rich Hollywood melodramas, the film tells the story of a well-to-do widow (Jane Wyman) who falls in love with a much younger gardener (Rock Hudson) and all of a sudden sees her world turn upside down, as she meets the withering disapproval of her family and her snobbish social set. As a woman rebelling against small-town conformity, Wyman gives a subtly expressive performance for the ages. Critic Farran Smith Nehme wrote about the actor in a 2014 essay, praising how she “slips under the skin of this sheltered widow as though she too had always lived in a circumscribed world of immaculate houses, self-involved children, dull parties, and duller companions.”

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