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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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Money is tight and Mildred (Kate Winslet) has been padding the grocery bill by making pies and cakes. But when she decides to kick her husband Bert (Brían F. O'Byrne) out of the house for cheating on her and go at it alone, she rapidly discovers the world is not kind to a single mother. Determined not to rely on the charity of her friends, or accept help from her father-in-law, Mildred swallows her pride and becomes a waitress -- much to the horror of her eldest daughter, Veda (Morgan Turner), who puts on airs in spite of their impoverished situation. Soon, her talent in the kitchen will open up a new world of prospects, so long as she can keep the men in her life from becoming too much of a problem. Among them is the fashionable and charismatic Monty Beragon (Guy Pearce), but their tumultuous romance combined with Mildred's desperate attempts to live up to her daughter's impossible standards will take them all down a desperate path.
Even though this miniseries boasts lovely period details and an impressive cast, I am not in love with it. This is due in part to the protagonists, few of whom I managed to like. Bert is the best thing this series has to offer and he's cheating on his wife! Mildred is a completely insecure woman who bends over backwards to try and "earn" the love of her utter wretch of a daughter, and only winds up being hurt... over and over again. At some point, the audience becomes frustrated with her and wishes she would move on. Monty is a total cad.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really wanted to like this, but was disappointed. It moves slowly and there seems to be no point. Decent acting, but that can't save it.Published 4 hours ago by E. B. North
Although this version was faithful to the book, I kind of preferred the darker, gloomier Joan Crawford version where Veda gets her just desserts. Read morePublished 18 hours ago by M. Bergen
Loved the story, and Mildred's determination to succeed.
Tear jerker, and reality
back in the 1930's.
I really loved this story as I was a single mother making a new life. There are unexpected twists that were intriguing and honest. True to life type of story. Good and bad. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Kim Buz
Haynes mini series is a masterpiece... Unlike the famous Joan Crawford vehicle that became a kind of noir camp classic- Haynes stays closer the the original story that is about a... Read morePublished 7 days ago by AW Clem