Since fall is officially here this week, it's time to kick off the season with some of my favorite movies set around autumn. We start with this classic from the 1950's, Douglas Sirk's masterpiece exploring the relationship between a widow (Jane Wyman) and the gardener she falls in love with (Rock Hudson). You'd think there would be no problem with two single adults deciding to get married, but Sirk was famous for his subversive critique of 1950's American values, at a time when most people celebrated them. Wyman's friends and family are biased against Hudson for being a gardener (gasp!) and for being younger than her (the horror!). There are subtle jabs at the phony materialism, sexism and class prejudice that engulfed American society at the time, but most of Sirk's films were dumped on by critics of the day for being sappy melodramas (perhaps not so coincidentally, a lot of them were movies that centered around women's lives and the issues that affected them). But they're fascinating to watch today, for being films that were snapshots of the era from which they came and reflected perhaps the truth of the shallowness of the "good old days" when everyone was better off. Yeah, not so much. This movie still holds up both as a great romance and a picture of America brimming under the so-called perfect surface.