Wednesday, 26 November 2014

''Mildred Pierce'' (1945 movie)- Review

Directed by: Michael Curtiz
Released: 1945
Country: United States

Genres: Drama, Film-noir, Mystery, Crime

Cast: Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden, Ann Blyth, Bruce Bennett

Rating: 5 out of 5


Mildred, our protagonist
Mildred Pierce. A heartbreaking, hauntingly sad film. To begin with, it's one of the strongest, one of the most overpowering films I have ever watched. It is, indeed.  Joan Crawford's performance is one of the strongest performances I have ever come across. A puzzling beginning leads to a melodramatic, suspenseful, painful film. It is a film that is not be missed, it is a must-watch.

The film opens as the titular character's husband, Monty Baragon, is shot dead. We do not see who shoots him. Our protagonist, Mildred Pierce Baragon (Joan Crawford), is called to the police station, where she is informed that the murder was committed by Bert Pierce, Mildred's ex-husband. Mildred refuses to believe so, and when she is asked why, she begins to tell her story, and through flashbacks, we come to know about her life, about the circumstances preceding this incidence, about everything that ultimately led to this day, this incident.

When Mildred was married to Bert Pierce, she was just an ordinary homemaker, baking cakes and pies, looking after her two daughters, Veda and Kay, doing everything to arrange the best education and upbringing for them. Her husband lost his job, started an extra-marital affair, that destroyed the peace of the family, ultimately leading to their separation. Mildred had no money, but she was determined. She wanted to provide everything for her daughters. She did not want her two daughters to have a working class upbringing. She started working as a waitress, and soon earned enough money that could afford piano lessons for Veda, that could afford expensive ballet lessons for Kay, that could afford a maidservant, that could afford a comfortable peaceful life.

But can things actually remain this simple? Veda (Ann Blythe), Mildred's elder daughter, didn't like the fact that Mildred worked as a waitress. She wanted a much better, a much happier life. A life with no wants, no poverty. Veda was ambitious, she was ungrateful, she was spoiled rotten. She wanted to have a lavish, respected life. She wanted everything. Mildred couldn't please Veda. No matter how she tried, she could not win Veda's affection. But she led her life, she did everything, just for the sake of her children. After Kay suddenly died, Mildred decided to dedicate her life for the comfortable upbringing of Veda. She was determined to do everything for Vera's happiness. She started her own restaurant chain- and soon became a successful and wealthy businesswoman- earning a lot of money, working hard- all for Veda's sake. The sole purpose of her hard work was Veda. The sole purpose of her life was Veda.  But Veda could never be satisfied. Never. She never showed any gratitude for anything her mother did for her- she wanted more, she did not remain satisfied with all the things her mother did for her. She did not show any gratitude, nor did she return her mother's life.

Where did Mildred's efforts lead everybody to? How did Mildred's affection, her determination to do everything for her daughter, and Veda's view to life, mess up everybody's life?

''Mildred Pierce'' has a wonderful mixture of emotional drama, heartbreaking moments, mystery, suspense, noir elements. There were times I forgot that this was actually a mystery film; I focused so much on Mildred, her sacrifices, her determination. Mildred is imperfect, she is completely flawed. But she is a mother, after all. The things that she does throughout the film are not unrealistic, because she is a mother. It becomes pathetic, the way she continues to forgive Veda. It is stupid, it is pathetic, but it is not illogical. The way she continues to forgive her daughter is logical yet stupid, because a mother can never get indifferent to her children, no matter how ungrateful, how horrible her children are. I felt pity for her, she is such a pathetic, yet such a strong character. Joan Crawford's performance is definitely unforgettable. Ada (Eve Arden), a confidant of Mildred, says,"Personally, Veda's convinced me that alligators have the right idea. They eat their young." In this case, I think, it's definitely logical. I was shocked at Veda's behavior. How can somebody possibly be so ungrateful, so horrible? How can somebody be so nasty? How can somebody be so indifferent to all the things her mother did for her? She is evil, and Ann Blythe does give a brilliant, extremely praiseworthy performance.

Suspense is aplenty, as we keep on waiting eagerly to discover what actually led to the event at the beginning of the film. With excellent noir elements and suspense, it works as a wonderful mystery film mixed with melodrama, great emotional depth, tragedy.

I loved this film, I really did. It is a film with an excellent depth, filled with melodramatic and suspenseful elements. It has got strong performances. The characters are all flawed but have excellent depth. It is heartbreaking, tragic, suspenseful film, an unforgettable gem of a film.

5 out of 5 

No comments:

Post a Comment