HAVING IT ALL WOULD COST HER EVERYTHING.
In the early 1930s, the newly divorced Mildred Pierce (Kate Winslet) reluctantly gets a job as a waitress and soon comes up with a way to make a lot of money; her sole motivation is the happiness of her ungrateful, oldest daughter. This miniseries remake of the 1945 film is closer to James M. Cain’s original story and ditches the noir feel in favor of Depression-era realism. The Far from Heaven director is certainly at ease with a melodrama of this type, although the bloated running time tries one’s patience. This is after all a treat, with excellent performances, exquisite period details and a story that paints a juicy portrait of a woman who can do anything – but win the love of her daughter.
2011-U.S. Made for TV. 360 min. Color. Produced by Christine Vachon. Directed by Todd Haynes. Teleplay: Todd Haynes, Jon Raymond. Novel: James M. Cain. Music: Carter Burwell. Cast: Kate Winslet (Mildred Pierce), Guy Pearce (Monty Beragon), Evan Rachel Wood (Veda Pierce), Brían F. O’Byrne, Melissa Leo, James LeGros.
Trivia: Originally shown in five episodes.
Emmys: Outstanding Actress (Winslet), Supporting Actor (Pearce). Golden Globe: Best Actress (Winslet).
Last word: “We approached it as a long-form film, but I was aware of making it for a different audience and being respectful of that. It’s not necessarily a film-savvy audience that we’re addressing, it’s people sitting innocently in their living rooms! So I looked at the filmmaking of the ’70s that introduced the mini-series as a really valid dramatic form – a lot were British series that we saw on ‘Masterpiece Theatre’ – and movies that took classic genres and made them feel weirdly connected to the moment. Films like ‘The Godfather’, ‘Chinatown’ and ‘The Exorcist’ brought a realism and currency and understatement to their genres that we wanted for ‘Mildred Pierce’.” (Haynes, Time Out)