Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What I’m Watching: Mildred Pierce (Miniseries Premiere)

Mildred Pierce: Parts 1 & 2 (B+)

It’s hard to find fault with most of what HBO produces. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that HBO’s latest limited series is nothing short of captivating, and we’re only two fifths of the way through. Inarguably, the most spectacular element of this production is the lead performance by Kate Winslet, who is absolutely incredible as the strong-willed and ahead-of-her-time Mildred Pierce. She’s surrounded by a stunning ensemble, which includes Brian F. O’Byrne (“Brotherhood”) as her wayward husband, Melissa Leo and Mare Winningham as her friends, and Guy Pearce as her potential new beau. It’s wonderful to see the work of Todd Haynes, whose last memorable project traveled back to the 1950s with Julianne Moore in “Far From Heaven.” Haynes has a marvelous style that is prominently displayed here, and the colors, visuals, and production quality are all in fine form. The story itself is particularly intriguing, and the first scene with Mildred’s baking and her subsequent argument with her husband do very well establishing the tone of the miniseries. Its melodramatic moments also work to great effect, especially with Mildred’s pretentious awful daughter. The death of her younger daughter at the end of the second installment is particularly powerful, as is her phone call with her husband’s mistress. This show does an impressive job of really transporting its viewers back in time, and everything about the dialogue, performances, scenery, and stories feels authentic. At the forefront of that, of course, is Winslet, so prepare for another Emmy-Golden Globe-SAG sweep coming up for the extremely talented actress.


Richter Scale said...

I haven't seen this yet, but I did see the 1945 Joan Crawford film of the same name (based on the same novel). Did you see that one? It's really good, a very successful mix of melodrama and film noir (it's the role that won Joan Crawford an Oscar). You might want to check it out.

Movies with Abe said...

I haven't seen the movie, though I certainly would like to at some point! I have so much current TV and film to see at the moment, but I'll definitely keep the recommendation in mind! Thanks!