Monday, April 4, 2011


Still from Mildred Pierce
My latest obsession is HBO’s Mildred Pierce, a five-part Mini-Series which I have been going on about now since learning last year that it began Production in New York. Not to be confused as a Remake of the 1945 Film starring Joan Crawford as much as it is an Adaptation of the 1941 Novel by James M. Cain, Mildred Pierce is well worth that $20/month you’ll have to spend to get HBO here in Canada.

Directed by Todd Haynes, who brought us 2002’s outstanding Far From Heaven and starring Oscar winner Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce alleviates any worries those of us had about Winslet “stepping down a notch” to do Television when she is a bona fide Film Actress. If anything, her work here rates as one of her best performances yet.

Haynes truly understands the soul of a tortured Woman.  Mildred leaves her adulterous Husband, raising difficult and materialistic Daughter Veda on her own. All the while, she single-handedly builds a Restaurant Empire out of her own ambition in California during the Great Depression while experiencing a sexual re-awakening engaging in a sexy and passionate relationship with Monty Peragon (Guy Pearce) who is financially dependent on her. This Mini-Series not only is a study of a complex character, but also a detailed examining of Class Relations in a time when Money or a lack thereof, defined an Era.

Despite Winslet v. much being where our attentions are focused upon, Mildred Pierce’s Supporting Cast is remarkable, including another Oscar winner in Melissa Leo and the great Hope Davis. The biggest revelation thus far has been soon-to-be twelve Child Actor Morgan Turner, who plays a young Veda – full of venomous fire and ambition. Veda has her Mother at her mercy, constantly making her crave approval and validation. Several times we see her deliver slaps and receive them from Winslet. When I was 11 years old… And although she has yet to surface, the talented Evan Rachel Wood plays the older Veda who surely will be stealing a scene or two.

Mildred Pierce airs Sunday nights on HBO Canada at 9:15 PM EST.

(Photo credit: HBO)

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