In one episode, the third, where Monty runs out of money and Mildred (Kate Winslet) starts supporting him because Mildred is all about her men/money when she isn't all about her monster daughter, MILDRED PIERCE went from moderately engaging Todd Haynes melodrama to the MOMMIE DEAREST of the Oughties.
I mean, this is some sort of meta-something, right? This is Haynes being funny ha-ha deconstructionist, right? See, I'm trying hard to excuse/make sense of the scenes where Veda tells Mildred that Monty said he'd fuck her fucked 17 times and then a scene with Monty yelling something along the lines of, "This scene needs some rape!" and Mildred making out with him for a while 'cause what girl can resist a rape line? Or maybe the rich air of his mansion still had her in a tizzy, even though Monty's got no more money and is basically Mildred's bitch now and *she doesn't even realize it*.
(By the way, Morgan Turner plays Veda as a girl, and Evan Rachel Wood plays her as TRUE BLOOD's Queen Sophie, er, as an adult. It's with no pleasure that you say mean things about a child, so I'm going to assume Haynes directed her to act as a ridiculous tiny tot she demon that even a great actress like Kate Winslet cannot make a human connection with.
(When people say, This is a great film! I look at these two and I am baffled; I do not understand how they see anything here but drag queenery. And when Wood--a very good actress--shows up doing her Queen Sophie, I can only think that Haynes, who grew up reading the same art theory books I did, is playing with her status as an Opposing Text against the Text in Michael Curtiz's film and James M. Cain's literal text. Or he saw her in TRUE BLOOD and went, "Hey, she does evil bitch excellently!" and so much for that.) )
Anyway, back to the high hilarity of a daughter who screams about her mom's lover talking about her mom's hot legs and getting fucked 17 times. I mean, what could be more, uh, what? Because, here on Planet Sane, this is either 1. So Sickening the Film MUST Become a Psychological Horror Film or 2. Proof the Director--who is also Co-Screenwriter--has No Idea How Shark-Jumped His Film Has Become or 3. Proof the Director is Making a Female Noir "Showgirls".
I'm betting on a savory mix of 2. and 3.
Anyway. I had some time to think about this and just got more cranky. I also saw parallels between MILDRED PIERCE and WINTER'S BONE. Mainly, that they both share the same heroine enduring one damn poverty-blighted thing after another narrative structure.
In MILDRED, Mildred lives in a highly art-designed house owned by her neatly-coifed husband in the Hollywood suburb of Pasedena. After gaining the house from him she gives in to every male that comes along, with all her thinking done by her neighbor played by Melissa Leo and are you getting as tired of the smarmy Leo as me or what? As for Mildred's daughter situation, we know about that.
BONE's 17-year-old Ree lives in danger of losing her godawful house owned by her crank-cooking Dad in the filthy, hopeless Ozarks, where she fights kicking and screaming against every single fucking male assailant who comes along. She takes care of her siblings; she teaches them how to deal when she isn't figuring how to deal with life by her own damn self.
PIERCE is hailed by one and all as "feminist"this or that. BONE is often derided as "poverty porn".