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Mildred Pierce Reviews

Page 1 of 6
jjnxn
jjnxn

Super Reviewer

April 23, 2012
Even at the extended length this is a mere patch on the classic Joan Crawford noir. Kate Winslet is a great actress, assuredly a more accomplished thespian than Crawford but the part fit Joan like a glove but by hewing so close to the novel this refocuses the drama in too many directions and loses the impact of any of them. Another problem is the part of Veda. The casting of two actresses minimizes the impact of the role for a start and the portrayals of both actresses while not bad can not possibly compete with the cancerous, psychopatic venality of Ann Blyth's pit viper in the original. It's bandbox pretty in the attention to detail of the sets but overall lacking a certain something...glamour? a proper consistent mood? to make it compelling that the Crawford film pulled off effortlessly.
Nicki M

Super Reviewer

March 28, 2012
Think I liked the movie better, but this tv series is pretty good. Though Kate is not Joan, she does a reasonable job here.
That daughter is truly awful - another good argument for not having kids ever!!!
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

May 13, 2011
Top quality miniseries with great performances by all. If you can get over the outdated morality tale -- that women who try to make it in a man's world have to suffer mightily for the privilege -- this is a decent watch. I wasn't sure, however, if I was supposed to like Mildred, feel sorry for her or throw things at the screen for all the foolish choices she made...particularly concerning her selfish, vicious daughter Veda. This issue I struggled with, but, all in all I thought that this was well done.
dietmountaindew
dietmountaindew

Super Reviewer

April 15, 2011
i'm a fervent admirer of james m cain, who penned mildred pierce in the late 1930s. i believe the story of mildred pierce is well-known to most people because of joan crawford. mildred pierce was crawford's career revival in 1945, and it won her an academy award. as a matter of fact, james m cain even sent crawford a copy of mildred pierce specialized with leather copy just to show his appreciation for her performance. mildred pierce is a semi-feminist story about a woman's steel willpower which keeps her survive and thrive during the great depression in the world of men, but she's ruined for her yen for shiftless gentleman and her excessive love for her own daughter. so this obsessive mom descends to the point of keeping an upper-class giglo husband just to earn a nominal name for aristocracy in pasedena, then everything collapses after spending all the money on her daughter and her giglo husband.

joan crawford's version emphasizes upon the part of mildred's willpower and her paranoic submission to please veda, but winslet's version focuses more upon mildred's sentimental side and her vulnerable affections toward veda. as for veda, ann blyth's veda is like a sugar-coated bitch who sneers and slaps back at her mother while evan rachel wood's veda is apparently a monstrous wench, wood showcasing more of veda's precocious sexuality. but ann blyth in mildred pierce was really just 17 while wood is almost in her mid-20s, playing a minor character.

i'm amazed at how faithful this tv-movie tries to be to the book, right down to every metaphor and symbol within the novel. by the way, in both the book and winslet's version, VEDA AND MONTY WIN! in crawford's version, veda gets so pleasantly punished and monty is righteously shot to death just like any flesh-eating dirty rat deserves. but as i leaf through the last page of cain's novel, it still gives me chills on how icy cold the character veda is and the ruthless manner she adapt to reveal her evil trickeries to her mother. but in winslet's version, there's saving grace preserved for mildred in the ending, where friends welcome and congradulate the second marriage of mildred and burt. in the novel, mildred is practically friendless after being doublecrossed by everyone but burt, and the worst part is how veda's guilty secret is excruciatingly heartlessly revelt on dinner table. but the tv-movie chooses to redeem that and make it much less jarringly cruel by lightening it into a do-gooder cheering drama of a woman's fight and failure in the path of love, career and autonomy....my complaint is, if you choose to be damned right faithful to a masterpiece, why not follow all the way and give us one of those original kicks? it's 2010s! it is okay to be that harsh as it's supposed to be, and it is also okay to bare the sick psychological romance between mother and daughter. we audience could handle it, please give us that hard-core boners james m cain has been giving to the readers 70 years ago! please! don't dissolve that! (don't take my cain-boner away!)

now i feel like rewatching joan crawford's version and listening to sonic youth's mildred pierce song...it never ceases to startle me that one of my flixster pals seems to passionately hate joan crawford, and i used to feel pitiful over that for crawford, now i consider it quite a compliment on her! see, she's been dead for 40 years! there're still people over there enthusiastically loving her and hating her, writing angry comment to belittle her womanhood with mean, insultful phrases...only she could have that effect on people! just SO LARGER THAN LIFE!

kate winslet's mildred pierce is well-acted and i must say she's still quite damned pretty in this picture. (to me, her full-shaped figure is juicier than skinny evan rachel wood with cheerleader adolescent body). the costume is lush and the backset is very realistic right down to every detail of historical fact of that period. it deserves credits and viewing. BUT it's not as powerful and impressive as the original mildred pierce, especially the confrontation in the stairs where ann blyth slaps joan crawford whose glare is just so fiercely charged with thunder bolt! nothing could top that!

as my fellow crawford-lover in my flixster list quotes a saying from streetcar named desire: i don't want realism, give me magic! now i just feel like shout: GIVE ME BACK THE MONSTER!!!

also, in this version, VEDA IS THE CAMPY ONE, evan rachel wood looks like a mannequin-shaped gothic lolita-zombie with smoky eye-cosmetics and histronic mannerism, an embodiment of plastic hollywood-ism in the old tinshell town. in the contrast, kate winslet feels and looks very natural and realistic. compared with evan rachel's even nastier veda, ann blyth's veda is a lady. (lol)
Michael G

Super Reviewer

April 14, 2011
Despite the fact it probably could've been about an hour shorter, Mildred Pierce was actually pretty damn good. Very well acted, shot and directed, it keeps HBO's winning streak going with the non-film noir and chop shop version of the story that the Michael Curtiz/Joan Crawford version served up. Mildred Pierce is also a great period piece that's quite a commitment but definitely worth it by the time you get to the fourth and fifth parts.
Mark A

Super Reviewer

March 28, 2012
What a beautiful production of this story of a woman in Depression era Los Angeles who survives on her wits and business acumen, building a good life for herself and her ungrateful daughter. An all-star cast, headed by Kate Winslet and Melissa Leo, and supported by Evan Rachel Wood, Brian F. O'Byrne, Mare Winningham, and young Morgan Turner, among others, kept this viewer glued to the screen for the entire 5+ hours! The costumes, the scenery, the automobiles, and the whole atmosphere bespoke a well-researched project that managed to capture a sense of another place and time. This viewer will admit a certain fondness for Ms Winslet that makes his assessment less than completely objective, but HBO has produce a cinematic treasure here, one that compares favorably to the stuff seen on Masterpiece Theater. One cannot help being drawn into the story, feeling the pain caused by the sudden realization that one's child can never return the love that a parent feels. Sad and triumphant, all at the same time.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

June 10, 2011
Mildred Pierce(Kate Winslet) kicks her husband Bert(Brian F. O'Byrne) out of the house for alleged infidelity. That leaves her with cake making as the only source of income to support her and her two daughters. Finding a job is no picnic since this is 1932. Luckily, she lands a job as a maid but pridefully walks away from it. After that, waitress might be the only possibility left but she is hesitant about taking the next step. Fate intervenes at a restaurant where she is having a light lunch when two waitresses are suddenly fired, leaving Mildred to step into the breach. At first awkward, she gets better in her new job but lies that she is only working there to research opening a restaurant of her own. Eventually, she goes through with it, with a little help from Wally Burgan(James LeGros), a friend and occasional lover.

There are many things to appreciate about "Mildred Pierce", especially its period detail and exploration of class, success and the American dream. Most of all it comes down to Kate Winslet who is so good that she does not appear to be acting at all. And that's not to mention the excellent supporting cast. For the most part, I had no problem with the pacing(admittedly I watched it on three separate days) since it allows us to observe the characters evolve over time. But even after a stunning climax, I sat there a little disappointed, after the sudden ending, that there was not more substance to this miniseries which is a form that should only deal with stories of epic stature which this sadly is not, having been once made into a movie in 1945 which I do not recall that much of.
Jeffrey M

Super Reviewer

July 27, 2014
Mildred Pierce, the five-part HBO dramatization of the acclaimed novel, is a unique miniseries unlike any I've seen. Set in the depression era, it follows the rise and 'fall' of Mildred Pierce, an ambitious, independent woman, who finds herself starting a thriving business. All the while, she tries desperately to get the approval of those around her, namely her narcissistic, privileged, and highly manipulative daughter. It's a series that examines love, class divisions, social norms of the 30s, and our propensity for self delusion.

The execution of Mildred Pierce is an interesting one. The series took a while to become enthralling for me, as I was unsure of where the piece was going, caught off guard by some of the antiquated dialogue, and confused on what the film was trying to say. The beauty of this series, however, is that through the unfolding five parts, we see an organic transformation of the story and the characters. It feels ever so real, and, by the end, becomes completely absorbing.

As a character study, I found the series to be largely fascinating. The dynamic between Mildred and her daughter, Veda, is unlike any I've seen depicted. Veda's self-absorption is so over-the-top, it does occasionally border on unbelievable. Yet here we have characterization so uncomfortable, we can't help but confront it. Veda misconstrues everything around her, constantly looks for slights that don't exist, always trying to create a victim mentality despite having a privileged life and a devoted mother. The pains Mildred goes through for such approval is staggering, and heartbreaking. In the end, Veda's abhorrent behavior seemingly poisons those around her, leaving Mildred awash in betrayal and abandonment.

Overall, it's a series that deserves to be watched, and one that will undoubtedly leave an impression.

4/5 Stars
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron W. Johnson

Super Reviewer

June 28, 2012
Wow, Todd Haynes really loves these tragic rise-and-fall dramas that are about either gays or women. Seriously, even when he was making a film about Bob Dylan's life, as lived by various people, all of whom are men, he had one of the men played by Cate Blanchett. Granted, Haynes also has great taste in casting great performers, and Cate Blanchett's as good as an actress can get, and certainly put on a masterful performance, but, come on Todd, we all know that you crowbarred her in there either because you can't help but have a woman somewhere as the focus in a rise-and-fall drama or because, seeing as how Blanchett's Jude Quinn character is straight, you could indirectly make the main focus gay. Maybe it was both, and "I'm Not There" was, in a stretch of a way, what his career was leading up to, which seems appropriate, because it was pretty awesome, even it was maybe a tad too long. Okay, outside of the whole gay or girl lead in a rise-and-fall drama thing, I'm starting to see another pattern in these Todd Haynes efforts, because this miniseries is also really good (Though not quite "I'm Not There" awesome, so calm down, kids), though also a touch too long. Over five-and-a-half hours, it better be good, and thus, it was. Still, make no mistake, like the story in a Todd Haynes film, or in this case, miniseries, for every rise in this rewarding effort, there is a fall.

The near-universal complaint is that the series is just too blasted padded, and quite frankly, yeah, it pretty much is, though there are spots where that's easy to forget. Major situation with this series is that it is tainted by the dreaded and rare "And Then" type storytelling, where the atmosphere in the story shifts are so smooth that they feel almost non-existent, or at the very least way too convenient. Todd Hayne's tightens everything to a fault, both in story structure and atmosphere, making many points flows too comfortably into each other, until after a while, steam is lost, only to be regained, but still not fast enough to stop you from checking the clock. A less prevalent, yet still rather sharp strike to investment is the occasional bit of sentimentality, which rarely descends into terribly cheesy or melodramatic, yet still goes powered by a rather saccarine tone and exacerbated by the cliches found almost throughout this saga. The story isn't beat-for-beat everything you'd seen before, yet much is familiar, especially the characters, who go as far down as to have Melissa Leo as my dreaded nemesis of a despicable pet peeve cliche character: That sassy, know-it-all best girlfriend who seems too blasted different from our lead to be her friend. The storytelling is familiar and flawed, yet as far as the story's overall structure, it all comes back to the consensus that the series is just too bloated, with excess, occasional redundant material, spawned from countless loose ends, spilling in near-relentlessly, so much so that Guy Pearce's Monty Beragon character doesn't show up until a little more than halfway through the second episode, with the time jump not coming in until episode four, thus making for an overlong and overly branched - to the point of being inconsistent in focus after a while - story that loses too much steam to stand as a true knockout. However, as it stands, Haynes' saga remains a rewarding one that's well worth the sit - overlong though it may be -, boasting quality we expect no less from HBO.

Cinematographer Edward Lachman shoots the series as handsome as any given Todd Haynes effort, dabbing subtlety within the grace that makes the occasional lovely shot even lovlier and, with a degree of scope, captures the razzle dazzle of California, circa 1930s. Speaking of which, HBO does a fine job of reconstructing the era and location with as much production quality as any given good period piece produced nowadays in the state in question, with Todd Haynes setting the tone of the era with much carefulness, as to make sure that the era doesn't jump out too much at you, but still make sure that it bounces just enough for you to understand the setting and how it helps in defining our story. Still, capturing the era is not at all the only thing that Haynes does a fine job of as director, for although his work is too spotty for this saga to really knock you out, Haynes is consistent in absorbing enough intrigue to keep you going, only to occasionally break from that steady and really cut deep with especially striking intrigue and, at times, powerful, if not piercing emotional resonance. Episode two, in particular, ends on a crushing not that, I must admit, had me tearing up (If it's something with Kate Winslet, I might end up crying a bit at some point, though it's usually because of her taste in film's with resonance, and not because the film was as tear-jerkingly bad as "Heavenly Creatures"), as Haynes managed to draw sensational dramatic depth in that one instance, yet it's not the only time he accomplishes such a task, though neither the resonance of such emotional occasions nor the consistency in intrigue could be as intense as it is without Haynes recieving great help from his slew of talented performers. The cast is star-studded and used quite well, with each member being as charismatic as you'd expect them to be, and a few just plain stealing the show, whether it be Morgan Turner and the absurdly later-to-arrive (It just about took longer for us to get to the time jump than the amount of time the time jump skipped) as the ambitious yet still, in many ways, rather ignorant Morgan Turner, who fears for her future as it draws ever nearer as she tries to break from the limitations of her upbringings and gathers darker depths along the way, or Guy Pearce as the slick but off-putting charmer with layers that is the fascinating Monty Beragon character. Everyone has their time in the sun, yet the spotlight never drifts too far from the side of the lady of the hour, Kate Winslet, who earns that right ever step of the way. Mildred Pierce is a mother, lover and business woman whose struggles never cease, especially in her day and age, and will change her all but entirely, and it's a process that Winslet nails with hypnotic depth, emotion and transformativeness, all spiced up by layers that never betray the depths of our lead, thus making for a predictably enchanting performance that leaves Winslet to embody the icon and carry her story in a seemingly effortless and deeply compelling fashion that helps in ultimately making this effort a generally satisfying one.

At the end of the day it pretty much takes to watch this thing, smooth-to-fault storytelling falls into play at points, with the occasional bit of sentimentality and quite a few cliches following not too far behind, yet it's the excessive bloating and uneven focus that leaves this saga to lose so much steam that, after a while, you're left hoping for more from less, yet you still get much more of what you want than not, with handsome cinemtography complimenting the fine and transportingly authentic production designs and Todd Hayne's consistently intriguing and, at times, dramatically piercing direction, which wouldn't be as effective as it is without the colorful star cast, lead by a moving, transformative and all around effortlessly riveting performance by Kate Winslet, thus ultimately leaving Todd Hayne's "Mildred Pierce" to stand as an ultimately compelling and worthwhile saga.

3/5 - Good
divinetrash
divinetrash

Super Reviewer

April 11, 2011
Absolutely fascinating. Kate Winslet gives a flawless performance as the title character, expertly conveying a strong, independent woman who nevertheless can't help but break down when it comes to standing up to her daughter, played with fierce intensity and marvelous theatricality by both Morgan Turner,as young Veda Pierce, and Evan Rachel Wood, as the adult bitch version of the character. Todd Haynes as created something truly special.
kecourier12
June 29, 2013
I really liked this film for its visuals, especially the sets and the costumes. However, I found it a bit lacking in character depth and development. Especially with Mildred's relationship with Monty and Veda, I just felt like there were too many repeated beats.
July 20, 2012
Loved it! Although could have been an hour shorter. Dragged sometimes. Now I need to see the J Crawford version.
Michael H.
August 18, 2014
An exceedingly well made adaptation with uniformly fine performances and keen sense of time and place. The occasions when things drag a bit are redeemed by moments of brilliance which more than make up for a sometimes too studied approach to the story.
Jeffrey M

Super Reviewer

July 27, 2014
Mildred Pierce, the five-part HBO dramatization of the acclaimed novel, is a unique miniseries unlike any I've seen. Set in the depression era, it follows the rise and 'fall' of Mildred Pierce, an ambitious, independent woman, who finds herself starting a thriving business. All the while, she tries desperately to get the approval of those around her, namely her narcissistic, privileged, and highly manipulative daughter. It's a series that examines love, class divisions, social norms of the 30s, and our propensity for self delusion.

The execution of Mildred Pierce is an interesting one. The series took a while to become enthralling for me, as I was unsure of where the piece was going, caught off guard by some of the antiquated dialogue, and confused on what the film was trying to say. The beauty of this series, however, is that through the unfolding five parts, we see an organic transformation of the story and the characters. It feels ever so real, and, by the end, becomes completely absorbing.

As a character study, I found the series to be largely fascinating. The dynamic between Mildred and her daughter, Veda, is unlike any I've seen depicted. Veda's self-absorption is so over-the-top, it does occasionally border on unbelievable. Yet here we have characterization so uncomfortable, we can't help but confront it. Veda misconstrues everything around her, constantly looks for slights that don't exist, always trying to create a victim mentality despite having a privileged life and a devoted mother. The pains Mildred goes through for such approval is staggering, and heartbreaking. In the end, Veda's abhorrent behavior seemingly poisons those around her, leaving Mildred awash in betrayal and abandonment.

Overall, it's a series that deserves to be watched, and one that will undoubtedly leave an impression.

4/5 Stars
Kirlygirl F.
June 12, 2014
Enjoyed the story of the series so far. Didn't care for the gratuitous sex scenes, nor did I care for Evan Rachel Wood as Veda. I didn't care for the way she delivered her lines like a bad high school-level performance, and I kept being distracted from the film with thoughts of concern about her health as a person due to her having such a skeletal figure.
March 19, 2013
L'interpretazione straordinaria di Kate Winslet supera quella di Joan Crawford solo per aver dato al personaggio quel carattere forte e ambizioso che nell'adattamento del 1945 mancava. Grande miniserie, una delle migliori degli ultimi 10 anni! Scenografia e fotografia ottime, colonna sonora strappalacrime, costumi ben fatti, ottimo cast (Winslet, Pearce, Wood, Leo, Byrne, LeGros), splendida sceneggiatura e grande regia (Haynes)!
August 15, 2013
Soberbo filme-serie da Hbo!
August 13, 2013
an emotional, powerful story. well structured and focused on the detail and the emotion of the story. Todd Haynes has been one of my favorite directors of all time since his masterpiece "Far from Heaven". this film is, in a way, similar to it in its melodramatic storytelling and its performances. Kate Winslet is superb in the role, literally mesmerizing us and hypnotically bringing us back to the great depression through her performance. yeah, its a long miniseries, but if you're like me who has patience for long movies, then you'll have a good time watching this.
Giuliano D.
May 9, 2013
Mildred Pierce is astonishing, beautiful, magnificent. And Kate Winslet is a marvel, at one of the best of her career.
July 14, 2012
The great Kate Winslet done a priceless performance. And Todd Haynes directed this miniseries very well!
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