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Mildred Pierce

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Divorced single mom Mildred Pierce decides to open a restaurant business, which tears at the already-strained relationship with her her ambitious elder daughter, Veda.


Staring: Kate Winslet, Brían F. O’Byrne and Guy Pearce


Kate Winslet and Evan Rachel Wood

Kate Winslet and Morgan Tuner







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One Review for “Mildred Pierce”

  1. Last night, HBO premiered the final two parts in their miniseries “Mildred Pierce,” which has been running for the past three weeks. The miniseries stars Kate Winslet in the title role. It also stars, Guy Pearce, Mare Winningham, Even Rachel Wood and Hope Davis. Both this and the 1946 movie starring Joan Crawford are based upon the book of the same title by James M. Cain. However, this miniseries does not play like the 1946 movie in any way, shape or form.

    The story takes place in Depression Era Los Angeles from 1931 to approximately 1939. It covers the personal and business affairs of a divorced mother of two. Mrs. Pierce has been wronged by her husband and left alone with no money in the bank and no visible means of support for the future. In desperation, she gives up her pride and takes a job as a waitress in a diner. Based upon skills acquired while running the diner, she learns the restaurant trade and eventually opens up a chain of restaurants in Southern California.

    During the entire period of the story, Mildred is raising and having confrontations with her spoiled daughter Veda who believes Mildred is working and behaving beneath her station in life. Veda believes it is not right for a woman such as Mildred to do manual labor. What Veda doesn’t realize is that everything Mildred does is just to please and support her daughter’s future. Eventually Mildred bankrupts the businesses to keep the spoiled brat happy. Much more melodrama and soap opera ensues, including a second marriage by Mildred to help Veda get what she wants.

    Kate Winslet, in another stunning performance, gives life to the title character and steals the show. Her performance is nothing short of spectacular as you are taken on a journey through the life of this depression era heroine. Regardless of how you feel about Ms. Winslet’s commerciality, she deserves her ranking as one of the finest actresses of her generation.

    However, I cannot say much more in favor of this HBO production. The first three parts of the miniseries are acceptable and play very well. The last two parts, not so much. In fact, I was incredibly disappointed by the final 2.5 hours of this work. It was boring, over the top and other than Kate Winslet, poorly acted.

    In fact, Evan Rachel Wood who is usually a fantastic actress in her own right seemed to walk through her role of Veda as an adult. Personally I have seen her in many works where her talents were much better displayed than this.

    What the miniseries does accomplish is to show HBO’s continued liberal slant. It shows class warfare at almost every level. And, it portrays the rich of Pasadena and Hollywood in a very unfavorable light. In fact, even Mildred is shown to be ashamed of her station in life. She only marries a second time to improve her social standing and this leads to disaster.

    Extramarital affairs and pre-marital sex are looked upon favorably in this story. So, from a social standpoint, this does not promote traditional family values in any way. In fact, it shows that single parenting and sexual liaisons were rampant in 1930’s Los Angeles. And, it does not show them in unfavorably. There is also much nudity. Additionally, it lawyers are portrayed as thieves who take advantage of their clients both sexually and monetarily.

    The production design in the film was absolutely incredible, as must have been the case with the Visual EFX unit as well. I was very surprised to read in the credits that the film had been shot in NY to double for Depression Era Los Angeles. The period and the locales were impeccable done. The viewer is actually transported to the time period of the action.

    On the whole, I give the miniseries three stars.

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