Veda Pierce (Evan Rachel Wood) is lying on a bed, a white blanket covers her body. She looks tired when her mother, Mildred Pierce (Kate Winslet) enters the room.
“Oh mother,” Veda says.
“How dare you?!,” Monty Baragon, Veda’s stepfather played by Guy Pearce, replies.
Mildred’s eyes are wide open. She is speechless to see what is happening. Unable to utter words, she is opening her mouth. Feeling innocent, Veda is walking toward a mirror. Monty covers her body with the blanket once she sits.
Mildred can’t help it anymore. She runs then chokes her daughter’s neck who is sitting in front of the mirror. Veda is shouting and crying while Monthy is trying to stop Mildred.
As Monty is trying to calm Mildred down, Veda is running downstairs. Mildred is chasing after her. Only when her daughter vomits, falls down, does Mildred end her steps.
With her glamorous dress and a hat, Veda drops by at her old house where Mildred and her former husband Bert Pierce and some relatives are gathering.
A bit surprised but still keen on meeting her daughter, Mildred welcomes her, an invitation that is kindly refused. Veda says she is going to New York to pursue her singing career.
“Oh. Are you alone?,” Mildred asks.
“No. I’m with Monty,” Veda answers.
Mildred is burned with so much rage.
“Go. Just go. Never come back!,” she yells as Veda is going inside a taxi. Mildred continues cursing at her ungrateful daughter as the taxi is going away from her and Bert.
Sigh. May be I am too much, but if I ever have any chance to meet the writer of the director of the movie I would ask for him to add a scene or some parts where Veda suffers from mental illness, get injured, being extremely poor or something. “Does this kind of daughter ever exist in the real world?” I suppose the author of the novel is too much in describing the character.
Anyway, “Mildred Pierce” is a five-part mini series aired by HBO this year. Prior to that, “Mildred Pierce” once was a successful movie in the 1940s, bringing an Oscar for its leading woman role. Based on a novel with the same title, “Mildred Pierce” revolves around a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship when Great Depression hits the U.S.
Set back in 1930s, Mildred finds herself separating from her husband, all alone in raising her two daughters. She is struggling to make ends meet by applying some jobs, most of which end up fruitless due to her prestige. A luck comes up when she is eating at a restaurant. She applies for a position as a waitress, a job which later brings for her so much knowledge on how to run the place.
With helps from her former husband and his fellow, Wally, who happens to be Mildred’s secret lover, she opens her business located in a fine site nearby her house.
Not long after that, Mildred meets Monty, with whom she shares a very passionate feeling. Happiness and sadness come almost at the same time. Few days before she opens the restaurant, Mildred’s eldest daughter dies because of fever. She is devastated. But life goes on. After all, she still has Veda to take care of.
The first night of the new business goes on very well. Seems like Mildred is very clever in handling the place with some customers feel satisfied with the food, especially pies and chickens. A new branch is opened. She renews her relationship with her former husband and moves on with her boyfriend.
But thing never goes on smoothly between her and her daughter. Mildred does a lot of things to satisfy Veda’s ambitions. She even brings her to one of the finest piano teachers so as she can learn the musical instrument. For Mildred, Veda is her everything, the one that always motivates her to work hard so that she can make her daughter proud.
But Veda never seems to get enough. As she ages, she acts and speaks wildly. Mildred is amused when her daughter smokes and behaves impolitely against her. Mildred sometimes spanks Veda but she always forgives her daughter. Through all fights and arguments, however, Veda always wins.
The most horrible debate occurs when Veda lies about her pregnancy. Some days before the revealed truth, the mother of Veda’s boyfriend comes to see Mildred. The woman asks for Veda not to blackmail or threaten her son to marry her. She even accuses Veda as a materalistic girl who wants nothing but money from her family.
Disbelieved with the confession, Mildred questions Veda one night. At first Veda says she is pregnant but later she admits her lies after Mildred asks for Wally to file for a report to force the boy to marry Veda.
Through minutes of verbal fights, Veda tells it all. She admits she does want the money so that she can leave her mother and be financially independent. She hates to share the same roof with her mother. She even blames for her materialistic traits while relating previous events when Mildred makes use of Bert or Wally to get what she wants.
Mildred sends Veda away after that. For a few times, she manages to move on with her life while struggling to get over her daughter. But fruitless. She continues to seek for her daughter whereabouts from Bert. She later finds out that Veda is now a famous opera soprano singer. Her name fills up newspapers in the city. Mildred wants to renew their relationship but still reluctant.
To her surprise, Veda emerges at Mildred’s second wedding. She even sings a song in the night. The mother and daughter reunite. Mildred is involved in her daughter bright career. She buys her expensive clothes as part of her show. To thank her mother, Veda presents Mildred’s favorite song during a show that is able to wow many audience.
Veda’s high class life style is putting Mildred’s life at the edge of bankruptcy. But Mildred refuses to take any charges from Veda to help her covering all debts. Just when Mildred is about to discuss about her economic condition, she finds Veda and her husband sharing the same bed that night, leaving her with unexplained pain.
The end of the mini series is a bit positive with Mildred is seen drinking with Bert in her restaurant. Both are chatting and looking forward for a new without Veda. Still not a relieved finale for me. I’m still pretty emotional every time I remember it.