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on December 4, 2016
First off, this series is visually and sonically beautiful. The clothes, the lighting, the cinematography and soundtrack, not to mention the acting, were all beautiful. My favorite shot is of Mildred talking to a teenage Vida in the car home from a funeral; just beautiful shot of reflections off the car window of overlapping trees interplaying with their faces.

On to the themes. I have to strongly disagree with the reviewer who said that Vida's dialogue sounded like it came from a book and was a script flaw. Vida's affectations are a central detail to the central theme of the film: social climbing during the Great Depression, and conflicts of class. Everything Mildred does, practically, is to nurture and shelter Vida from harsh reality. She doesn't want her to see her uniform, she wants to buy her a proper piano, etc etc. Like many parents, she wants a better life for Vida and shares in her pride against lower class work and living. But Mildred is conflicted between living through her daughter's aspirations and being prisoner to them, and being the butt of her contempt.

But Vida lives in a semi-fantasy world, very much a Hollywood thing, of being upper class. Mildred tells her to knock of the affectations a couple of times in the movie. But the artificiality of her stilted speech is a great signifier of who Vida is: a middle class kid who probably got her ideas about class from Hollywood movies, which in the 1930s had a lot of depictions of the upper class lounging in penthouses in silk gowns and tuxes. When Monty comes along, he is everything Vida wants to be, and she as well as Monty look down on Mildred for her middle-class ways. Vida's pretentious diction is an embodiment of who she is and what drives the movie: a relentless social climber (she'll even blackmail to get money). This detail resonates with me because I have known people like this who are affected social climbers who speak in an accent from nowhere; social climbers live in an interstitial zone of class and their accents are what they *think* an upper class person speaks like. It does come from books and movies, because they did not grow up upper class. I grew up with this kind of thing; my father grew up in the 1930s and does not have the accent of the rest of the family. He uses semi-british pseudo-aristo phrases like "lovely chap" even though we are from the midwest and lower middle class. I think this comes from growing up during the Great Depression, in which this film is set, and living through escapist Hollywood glamour. Even the Hollywood actors had a fake pseudo-accent that was invented for Hollywood films when sound first entered film; glamorous stars' New Yawk accents came out and they were given elocution lessons.

Speech is very much a class signifier and this film perfectly nails class aspirations and conflicts.

Oh and Kate Winslet is perfect.
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on October 21, 2017
The mini series Mildred Pierce was based on the story by James Cain. It takes place in depression era California. But it is not your typical depression setting. There are no soup lines or homeless people to be seen. Difficulties due to the depression are mentioned a few times but visually we don't see that things are so bad. Mildred lives in a nice, well furnished home and has a nice wardrobe. The actual focus of this miniseries is the relationship between Mildred and her daughter Veda. We first meet Veda when she is about 11 years old. Her behavior is not typical of a young girl. Her use of language sounds "movie based" and her behavior is sneaky and malicious. Her desire to be part of the upper class becomes a malignant wedge between herself and her mother. This forms the focus of the entire series as Mildred constantly tries to please her daughter. Veda is NEVER happy with anything her mother does for her. The one good thing that does come from this relationship is that Mildred is inspired to do more than waitress to provide for the families needs. Mildred decides to open a restaurant and is very successful. Veda is a girl who never misses any opportunity. She latches on and never lets go until the end of the series when Mildred FINALLY realizes the truth and physically attacks and throws her out. The series itself does move a little slow at the beginning but it is interesting enough. The attention paid to furnishings and clothing is obvious as everything (clothing styles, fabrics, hairstyles, furniture) is true to the era. Also the language and phrases adds interest. Visually there is good use of different colors inside the homes and restaurants. And the acting is wonderful. I loved Kate Winslet and the two actresses who portrayed Veda (Morgan Turner as the young Vida, Evan Rachel Wood as the young adult Vida), and also Guy Pearce as Monty. And an additional point of interest is that we see how the upper classes were affected by the depression. All together a good series and well worth watching.
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on February 24, 2015
I was very hesitant to watch this, thinking ' Why would anyone re-make 'Mildred Pierce'? A huge Joan Crawford\Jack Carson fan, I had read the novel some years ago and did find it to be quite a bit slicker than the book. I tried it, having seen Kate Winslet in a few outstanding roles recently. What struck me the most is that they went to great lengths to give the film the look of the period of Depression-era California. The dialogue did not change much. Joan Crawford was a Drama Queen. Kate Winslet was Mildred Pierce first, then won my respect as doing a great job in her role of Mildred Pierce. She gave a beautiful performance, I think playing closer to the James Cain novel. Nobody tried to be the same as in the Crawford movie, thank God. Were that to be so, why do a remake and we would have no enjoyment in watching it. We see more of Burt, Mildred's ex. Ida was crusty, but she did not try to be Eve Arden. Vida seemed too young for the role, but that was from me watching the lovely Ann Blythe all those years, who started out actually too old for the start of the movie. This new Vida didn't overact and did not try to be Ann Blythe. The lighting and the sets felt genuine. I still love the Crawford movie with all its glitz. But I appreciate this production as its own.
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on March 15, 2015
I haven't finished the entire series but so far I'm pleasantly surprised.

This new version has more depth and dimension, but the principal characters are lacking the grit and ruthlessness of the original.

If you could merge the two, you'd have the perfect Mildred Pierce story.

This Mildred almost plays this like a Joan of Arc, while Joan Crawford always looks like she's going to eat you alive.
Monty is too wishy washy here, he doesn't have the domineering oily personality of Zachary Scott.
Even the husband is like a non entity. I think they kind of jumped the gun on Princess Veda, although she's a little more interesting in this version, but she's no Ann Blyth, that's for sure.
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on July 14, 2016
This series was well-acted - I love Kate Winslet but I started to seriously dislike Mildred Pierce because she was such a push-over, and the two actresses who portrayed her daughter were horrible actresses, although the older one was better than the younger one. I wanted to scream at Kate Winslet to stop acting like such an idiot. After watching the series, I was wishing I could get those 5 hours back. Terrible story, but again, Kate Winslet did a good job of portraying the title character.
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on August 8, 2017
Kate Winslet, always stunning! Great actress, captivates the empathic soul. I am completely driven by how she carried her self with excellent performance as Mildred Pierce. Just WOW..

Oh my cracking bod! Veda's malignant character had me in utter hatred! But hey! For that, two thumbs up for Morgan and Evan! Job well done!
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on July 10, 2017
As an middle age man with teenage going on adult daughters I really felt horrible about how her daughter treated her. I guess that is when you know the writing and acting are great, when you're really involved with the story, when you feel happy or miserable for the protagonist. I really felt for Mildred. Great stuff.
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on September 12, 2016
K.W.'s great talent could not redeem this story. Hoped for characters honed into better people by the challenges of the Great Depression, but no. Just fools whose choices repeatedly proved them fools.
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on April 24, 2017
I thought it was a beautifully well done series. The storyline and the costumes and attention to the time period were exceptional and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. My only criticism was the inclusion of a scene of oral sex between Mildred and Monty towards the end. It wasn't necessary and ruined my watching pleasure, it didn't move the story along or make any difference in their relationship, it jut seemed gratuitous to me. Too bad. Otherwise it was a lovely series.
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on March 20, 2016
I wish I had read the reviews rather than going by the number of stars and the brief description Amazon describes before watching this. The series was recommended by Amazon based on my interest in PBS period dramas - all of which I have loved, in part because they always offer something uplifting alongside the challenges the characters face, not to mention well-developed characters and great pacing. I kept watching Mildred Pierce, hoping it would get better. I wish I could get those five hours back. This series is dark, depressing, and poorly paced. The series and the music that accompanies it are not for everyone, and are definitely not for me.
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