The other day I did a blog post about the meanest moms in the movies. Now, in honor of Mother’s Day tomorrow, I present to you the most loving mom in the movies: Juanita Moore as Annie Johnson in “Imitation of Life.”
Moore played a supporting role to Lana Tana who played Lora Meredith the lead character who was a widow with dreams of becoming a famous actress. Lora’s daughter was Susie, played by Sandra Dee. Moore was a divorced woman, with child, Sarah Jane played by Susan Kohner. When Susie and Sarah Jane were little, they became friends on the beach. Their mothers also became friends and Lora let Annie and Sarah Jane come live with them to keep her and little Susie company and Annie agreed to watch the kids while Lora pursued her acting career.
As years went on, Annie served as nanny, housekeeper and best friend/confident to Lora. Lora’s career started to climb.
While Lora and her daughter Susie have their issues, Sarah Jane has her own troubles, becomes extremely rebellious and puts her mother through a living hell — all while pretending her mother isn’t really her mother because Sarah Jane wants to be white, not black.
Here’s a scene from the movie where Sarah Jane is very cruel to her mother:
Annie does everything she can to try to keep her daughter on the straight and narrow, but selfish Sarah Jane wants nothing to do with her. Annie loves her child with all her heart and soul and goes through desperate measures to try to win Sarah Jane’s love. Eventually Annie’s health deteriorates due to a broken heart because of her daughter disowning her … I’m not telling the ending, but if you want to know Google “Imitation of Life.”
The story is a beautiful tear-jerker and Moore’s character was the only one who was giving amongst all selfish people. I highly recommend this movie if you haven’t seen it already. It’s a great movie to watch on Mother’s Day. It will definitely make you appreciate your mom more than ever. I watched this beautiful movie a few times with my late Grandmother who was just as unconditionally loving as Moore’s character.
In 1959 Juanita Moore was the fifth African American to be nominated for an Academy Award. She is still alive today — age 90!