Monday, September 13, 2010

Yes, No, Maybe So: Mildred Pierce (2011)

It's not intentional but today will be something of a TV day here at The Film Experience -- and to think how we were just bitching about all the false arguments in its favor -- and let's start with this trailer for the HBO Miniseries Mildred Pierce. [thanks to Sebastián for alerting me]

Like Angels in America seven years back, the director, cast and production values allow us to easily pretend that it's really just a feature film in disguise. It's just another part of The Great Convergence because what are today's franchises like Harry Potter and Twilight other than three season'ish long television series with bigger budgets?

YES I'll see anything -- and have seen everything -- that Todd Haynes directs. From subversive queer shorts like Dottie Gets Spanked to the inventive Superstar (the legally troubled Karen Carpenter bio with Barbie dolls) through to Oscar contending films like Far From Heaven and I'm Not There. His films never fail to excite the eyeballs, the intellect and hormones. Some people think he has trouble with the heart portion of entertainment, that his films are too heady, but to this complaint I say [insert expletive]. Even if that were true, better that problem than the far more common cinematic ailments of brainlessness, sexlessness and generic aesthetics.

NO I don't understand the casting of 23 year old Evan Rachel Wood as 34 year old Kate Winslet's nasty ungrateful daughter Veda at all. Aren't they too old and too young for their roles respectively, thus compounding the problem? Believable mother daughter chemistry won't be as important as usual since they're at odds, but still. Not sure I follow this. Plus, I've been aching for Evan Rachel Wood to get out of her bad girl rut. She has more range than this (or at least she once did).

MAYBE SO As much as I love Kate Winslet, performing in the shadow of Joan Crawford's signature role just seems so... foolhardy? It's one thing to star in an adaptation of a novel that's been adapted before. It's quite another to star in an adaptation of a novel that's been adapted before as an immortal and glamorous star's biggest hour.

I'm a yes given Kate + Todd + below the line players like DP Edward Lachman. Though I feel I should note that Todd's regular costume designer Sandy Powell did not work on this -- she told me her schedule conflicted when I interviewed her during the Young Victoria Oscar run.

My current plan: read the book in the next month or two so as not to be thinking of the gorgeous Michael Curtiz noir the whole way through.

Kate in her Emmy winning* role as Mildred Pierce.

You? Have you seen Joan Crawford's Oscar winning take on the Mildred Pierce role? If not, what are you waiting for?

*just guessin'

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