Last night, the five-part mini series, Mildred Pierce came to quite a disastrous end. In parts four and five, nine years have passed and Mildred Pierce (Kate Winslet) continues to break her back for her ungrateful daughter, Veda Pierce (Evan Rachel Wood) even after a heated argument leads to Mildred kicking Veda out of the house. As fulfilling as it was to watch Veda being thrown out after ripping her mother to shreds yet again, that satisfaction only lasted for a moment. Mildred’s constant need to keep her adult daughter happy consumes her life until it can’t anymore.
With all of the cooking showcased in parts one through three, the early years resembled visuals similar to Julie & Julia. Though parts four and five focused more on the dramatic elements that viewers were anticipating from the very beginning. It was so odd and in a way unsettling to watch Kate Winslet in a role that pushes her to be so inferior. For a woman managing her own restaurant and bakery, Mildred sure lacks leadership strengths with her own flesh and blood.
“What are you insinuating, that my daughter is a snake?”
“It’s much worse.”
As for Evan Rachel Wood, there were glimpses in past roles that she has played of a selfish little girl. Wood was able to let it all out as Veda, the lying, stealing, and manipulative young woman with nothing going for outside of her opera career. Wood was much more dramatic than some viewers may have anticipated, but it definitely works for this character. As the man whom Mildred ran into said, Veda is a wonderful singer but not a wonderful girl. Wood plays the part perfectly. Clearly, Veda is not just an ungrateful daughter but the world’s most awful human being. Her inability to be a good person proves to be the cause for her inability to be a success outside of her singing career. By the way, if you want to hear Evan Rachel Wood singing some more, pick up the Across The Universe soundtrack. Also, 1940s wardrobe definitely agrees with Wood.
So after bumping into Monty Beragon (Guy Pearce), Monty and Mildred rekindle the flames. Monty has Mildred wrapped around his finger. Poor Mildred. All of her sexual (and romantic) relationships have failed. She can’t find a man that is truly in love with her or keep a daughter that is willing to love her. The daughter that she does have has a selfish motive behind everything. No matter how successful Veda becomes, she carefully schemes how to have everyone in her life cater to her and only for her benefit. Despite warnings from her first husband, Bert Pierce (Brian F. O’Byrne), Mildred finds herself getting hurt by her lovers and Veda time and time again. Veda spends her time investing in the wrong things for the wrong reasons while Mildred invests her time in the right things for the right reasons the wrong way. It is not surprising, the revelation of which Pierce ends up getting her way.
Betrayal meets a completely unbelievable level in the end. The writing and acting really reach their highest level of suspense in the last 20 minutes of the mini series. Parts four and five are not as slow moving as the first three parts but they are just as poignant, perhaps more. With Veda all grown up and a wider road to travel, the acting among the entire cast is even more remarkable in the final parts.
Finally, after a series of events take place that could have been avoided had Mildred not been an enablerâ€¦ she finally sees the light. It’s a shame when a parent has to say “To hell with her” about their own daughter, especially after they have spent so many years so entirely devoted to her. But if this moment finally allows Mildred to live her own life, this ending will satisfy you. Otherwise, the conclusion will leave you floored and this emotionally draining mini series will officially come in second compared to the original 1945 film of the same title.