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Mildred Pierce (2011)

Kate Winslet , Guy Pearce  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Kate Winslet, Guy Pearce, Evan Rachel Wood
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: January 3, 2012
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0041KKZHI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,636 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mildred Pierce" on IMDb

Special Features

Audio Commentaries with Todd Haynes, Jon Raymond, Mark Friedberg on parts 3 and 5
Series Index (menu-based)
Previews for parts 1-5

Editorial Reviews

In Michael Curtiz's hands, James M. Cain's novel Mildred Pierce became a suburban noir, but Todd Haynes spins a more class-conscious tale in this HBO miniseries. The Depression is in effect when Mildred (Kate Winslet, ably filling Oscar-winner Joan Crawford's formidable shoes) breaks with her unfaithful husband, Bert (Brían F. O'Byrne), leaving the Glendale housewife to support her daughters as a waitress and part-time baker (cinematographer Ed Lachman brings her confections to delectable life). To keep up the middle-class façade, only neighbor Lucy (a fine Melissa Leo) knows about her blue-collar day job.

By protecting 11-year-old Veda (Morgan Turner) from the truth, however, Mildred encourages her snobbish tendencies, but then her pastry-making skills allow her to open a chain of restaurants with help from Lucy, feisty colleague Ida (Mare Winningham), and opportunistic realtor Wally (James LeGros, Safe), with whom she has a fling. That ends when she falls for playboy Monty (a dashing Guy Pearce), who takes a shine to Veda, at which point the girl becomes truly insufferable. The first time Mildred slaps her, it's hard not to suppress a cheer. The second time: Veda slaps her mother back. In 1937, when Mildred finally kicks her out (Evan Rachel Wood plays the teenaged Veda), you'll wonder why she didn't do it sooner.

Since 1941, audiences have debated Mildred's attempts to buy her daughter's love. Was Veda a bad seed or did slack parenting make her that way? In ditching the murder of the Curtiz film, Haynes and cowriter Jon Raymond (Meek's Cutoff) lend clarity to her motivations. Despite some awkward staging towards the end, Haynes directs with grace, and his cast rises to the occasion, particularly Winslet and O'Byrne. "Sometimes," Mildred tells Veda, "I wonder if you have good sense." The phrase applies equally well to her mother. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

She gave her daughter everything, but everything was not enough. Mildred Pierce brings to life the memorable characters introduced in James M. Cain’s classic 1941 novel of pride and privilege in the middle class. Starring Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet, and co-written and directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Todd Haynes, this five-part drama is an intimate portrait of a uniquely independent woman who finds herself newly divorced during the Depression years, as she struggles to carve out a new life for herself and her family. The story explores Mildred’s unreasonable devotion to her insatiable daughter Veda (Evan Rachel Wood), as well as the complex relationship she shares with the indolent men in her life, including her polo-playing lover Monty Beragon (Guy Pearce) and ex-husband Bert Pierce (Brian F. O’Byrne)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
103 of 113 people found the following review helpful
When I heard that one of my favorite indie directors, Todd Haynes, was going to revisit the classic "Mildred Pierce" envisioned by hard boiled novelist James M. Cain--I was undeniably stoked and have patiently awaited the arrival of this new interpretation. Of course, everyone knows that an original film version won Joan Crawford an Oscar (not to mention inspired my second favorite Carol Burnett show)--but that presentation was more forties melodrama than classic Cain. Haynes has already proven a knack for period detail with the Douglas Sirk homage "Far From Heaven" (my favorite film of the year it was released), so I thought he might bring new life to this familiar tale. And, indeed he has. Eschewing some of the irony and romanticism that I had expected, Haynes has opted instead for a downbeat realism that highlights the Depression era class struggles in much more detail than the previous film version.

I must admit that I literally sat there and watched the entire 5 hour HBO story from start to finish. Of course, if you have a life--you probably aren't going to do the same and that's undoubtedly a good thing. I think it is best to let this "Mildred Pierce" unfold at its own leisurely pace. In truth, for my taste, the program runs a little long at five hours. Less patient viewers might struggle with the first part and its lengthy set-up, but things heat up considerably the further into the miniseries you progress. I respect Haynes' decision to modulate the narrative pacing--it certainly gives you more of an opportunity to get invested in the characterizations. So even if you initially question where the story is going and how long it will take to get there, rest assured that patience will be rewarded.

"Mildred Pierce," at heart, is a tale of mother love and sacrifice.
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43 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Off to a Fine Start March 28, 2011
MILDRED PIERCE may be an old story - class values and the Depression circa 1931 as remember form the 1945 film written by James M Cain and starring Joan Crawford - but in the hands of writer/director Todd Haynes and Jon Raymond and especially in the sensational performances offered by Kate Winslet et al the story takes on a new luster in the current economic situation in which we find ourselves. This is not meant to be a review of the entire miniseries, but instead a signal to those who may be avoiding this version, not caring to forget the 1945 version.

Mildred Pierce (Kate Winslet) is suffering quietly in a marriage where the 'essentially unemployed' husband (Brían F. O'Byrne) is having an affair to fill his idle hours and when Mildred discovers this she sends him packing: she has two daughters to raise in a 'proper way' and is encouraged by her friend and neighbor (Melissa Leo) to live her own life. Mildred becomes employed as a waitress (much to the chagrin of her snotty daughter Veda - Morgan Turner) and eventually turns her waitressing into a business of her own (she has always sold her pies and cakes for income), taking up with her husband's 'friend' (James LeGros) who later helps her finance her ventures in the restaurant business. As Mildred celebrates her success in readying her restaurant she meets a dashing rich lad from Pasadena (Guy Pearce) and after a spur of the moment one night trip to Santa Barbara she returns very happy only to find her younger daughter Ray is hospitalized...and the story will be continued.

For those who may have doubts about extending the original 90 minute movie into a 5 hour miniseries, have no fear. The expansion of the story is well conceived and executed - and the opportunity to see Kate Winslet own this role is well worth the time. Grady Harp, March 11
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Faithful to the Novel April 11, 2011
In Todd Haynes adaptation of "Mildred Pierce," gone is the noir drama of the 1945 movie of the same name with Joan Crawford, and some screenwriting from William Faulkner, and it's replaced with a more faithful to the James M Cain novel, which is a much more realistic portrayal of the times, and captures the bright realism of the novel which is plays more like a Edward Hopper painting than noir.

As in the novel, Mildred Pierce is a `grass widow,' which is depression era parlance for a divorced woman, needs to support her family of two children, Veda and Ray, because her husband Bert can't find a job and is carrying out an affair with a married woman. After Mildred throws Bert out she finds she only has skills enough for restaurant work and making pies. An employment agency sends her out on a job as a maid but pride won't allow her to take the job because she has to wear a uniform and defer to the lady of the house. Recuperating from the humiliation she felt at having to take a job as a maid in a diner she discovers they need a new waitress, and Mildred swallows her pride and takes the job. She quickly learns all the in's and out's of the restaurant business and opens her own, which in short order is successful. Her daughter Veda, who seems to have been born a snob, continually humiliates Mildred and those around her she considers of a lower social status (Why Veda feels that way we're never told, except from glimpses of Mildred behaving the same way such as kicking Bert only because she didn't get a winter fur coat) shows an interest in, and talent for playing the piano and as she grows older becomes an operatic singer.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother.
I gave this three stars only for the caliber of the performances by the women in the supporting cast. Otherwise the story drags on. It felt like it took a month to watch this. Read more
Published 2 days ago by JJ F.
5.0 out of 5 stars Mildred Pierce
This updated version of the 1945 classic is an Oscar winning performance. Loved the ending; Mildred finally saw her daughter as she really was and let her go. Wonderful movie.
Published 7 days ago by laverne blue
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice miniseries!
I liked this miniseries a lot, enough to rent the last three episodes after seeing the first two on cable,
Published 22 days ago by All-access Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Collectors item for me
I really enjoyed this series and am glad I purchased it to share with family and friends. Kate Winslet Evan Rachel Wood are the absolute truth!
Published 24 days ago by Bree
4.0 out of 5 stars Mildred Miniseries is hard to swallow
Miniseries (Movie Review) HBO's Lavish production of Mildred Pierce pulls no punches, in fact its a lot like getting sucked punched in the gut! Read more
Published 25 days ago by Anchorage
1.0 out of 5 stars Ragged.
The first two episodes are promising. They portray a very well-acted almost-rags-to-riches story taking place in hard times.

The rest of the series is a mess. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Kit Marlowe
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked it
I liked it but the daughter drove me crazy. The last program of the series was really good. I recommend
Published 1 month ago by Scott
4.0 out of 5 stars This is not Faulkner's Mildred.....
I wonder if any of those who claim to place the admittedly-fantastic Faulkner/Curtiz movie so far above this have actually READ the book? Read more
Published 1 month ago by Don In Fremont
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine character-driven miniseries
In a nutshell: Mildred Pierce is about a recently divorced mother of two in the mid-1900's who learns to support herself and her children by building a restaurant empire. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steven Traube
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Miniseries!!
This is one of the best mini series available. The acting and cast is superb and Kate Winslet is breath taking as usual. Although it is a remake, you will not be disappointed...
Published 1 month ago by Lori A. Berentsen
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Topic From this Discussion
What do you think of this film version of Mildred Pierce?
has subtitles in Portuguese BR?
Thank you.
May 24, 2012 by Erika Barreto |  See all 2 posts
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