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Mildred Pierce

USA 2011. Director: Todd Haynes
Cast: Kate Winslet, Guy Pearce, Evan Rachel Wood, Melissa Leo, James Le Gros

MARATHON SCREENING! Todd Haynes tries his hand at the mini-series — and has another triumph — in this five-parter made for HBO. A luxuriant adaptation of James M. Cain’s 1941 novel, Mildred Pierce was nominated for 21 Emmys and won five — including one for Kate Winslet’s fine lead performance. (Michael Curtiz’s 1945 film version earned six Oscars nods and won one — for star Joan Crawford.) This epic (melo)drama of family strife and social striving is set in Depression-era Southern California, where Mildred is a middle-class housewife reduced in circumstances by divorce. Working hard to provide for her two daughters, the steely, self-sacrificing Mildred transforms herself from waitress to restaurant owner and entrepreneur, but her shrewdness and success don’t extend to her relationship with her spoiled, spiteful, class-conscious eldest child Veda (Evan Rachel Wood), an aspiring opera singer. Guy Pierce co-stars. The gorgeous cinematography is by Ed Lachman (Far from Heaven, I’m Not There). The script was co-written with Jonathan Raymond, known for his collaborations with Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff). “Mildred Pierce is not just great television, it's a revelation... Haynes has given us a rare and valuable gift: an American melodrama about class” (Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times). “Outrageously enjoyable ... This glittering new Mildred Pierce is frankly the crystal meth of quality TV: instantly and scarily addictive ... Haynes has, as they say, hit one out of the park” (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian). Colour, Blu-ray Disc. 335 mins. (Part 1: 58 mins. Part 2: 62 mins. Part 3: 66 mins. Part 4: 70 mins. Part 5: 79 mins).

There will be a 45-minute intermission between Parts 3 and 4.

 

REVIEWS

"What can you say about an HBO miniseries adapted from a 1941 novel that follows the rise and fall of an independent woman during the Great Depression? Let's try 'perfection,' which is what director Todd Haynes achieves in his loyal, lyrical adaptation."

Rolling Stone | full review

"The miniseries is far more faithful to the tawdry class shenanigans of Cain's novel than any of the author's characters are to each other."

Village Voice | full review

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