Time: 111 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Won Academy Award for Best Actress (Crawford). Nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Arden, Blyth), Cinematography, Screenplay and Best Picture.
SYNOPSIS: After her cheating husband leaves her, Mildred Pierce proves she can become independent and successful, yet her accomplishments fail to win the approval of her spoiled daughter.
BOTTOM LINE: Crawford may be playing the title role and is without a doubt the star of this picture, but it's the brilliantly bitchy performance of Ann Blyth that makes this film a classic. Her turn as Mildred's arrogant and mean-spirited daughter makes me glad I don't have children and is a perfect example of how giving your children "everything" can turn them into uncaring, soulless monsters. Veda (Blyth) uses her parent's divorce as a way to guilt her overly caring mother Mildred into buying her whatever she wants, not caring a whit how hard her mother has to work to get it. All she cares about is her unhappiness, never noticing her mother's. Mildred wants her daughters to have a better life than she had, but her ex-husband warns her that constantly giving in to Veda's demands will only breed trouble. Man, does it ever.
Let's just say that Veda's poisoned soul ruins the lives of everyone who loves her, most especially her mother's. It's hard to feel bad for Mildred because she's a smart, strong woman who really should have seen this coming; however, Crawford still is able to engender sympathy despite her giant blindspot where her daughter is concerned. Like all Noir films, this one is filled with seriously flawed people just trying to survive the best way they know how. Some of them live to breathe another day, other's find themselves on the wrong end of a gun. While who committed the central murder is not much of a mystery, it's still quite an interesting ride to the final conclusion. The film is perfectly cast and brilliantly shot, capturing both the sunny and seedy sides of Los Angeles with equal expertise. MILDRED may be more drama than Film Noir, but it certainly delivers enough intrigue, backstabbing, lust and villainy to hold one's attention.