A film that can tear you apart emotionally; it's both one of the great movie soap operas and a powerful indictment of racism. Sirk's cool, elegant style--smooth as silk on top, jagged and hot with feeling below--has rarely been joined to a more perfect subject. [05 May 2006, p.C9]
If Sirk exploits the material for all it's worth and seems to be sardonically allowing the artifical genre to devour itself as he sits back and watches, at the same time the weepie aspect is so melodramatic as to tear the sobs from your throat.
The secret of Sirk's double appeal is a broadly melodramatic plotline, played with perfect conviction yet constantly criticized and challenged by the film's mise-en-scene, which adds levels of irony and analysis through a purely visual inflection.