I wonder what a feature length edit would look like. The casting of Evan Rachel Wood was a masterstroke - Guy Pearce and Kate Winslet also do a sterling job - and Haynes' directing borders on auteurism. The omission of Curtiz's kitsch is deft, replacing it with the slow-burn subtext of high society tension. Arguably, the TV mini-series length is unnecessary, but patient storytelling avoids a rush to the denouement.
Vastly superior to the Kurtiz version. Haynes' demonstrates a dominance in crafting the precise moments that punctuate melodrama: Veda and Mildred's fights, the waitress uniform scene, the reveal of Veda in Monty's bed, etc. Successfully binding the conflicting desires of Mildred, Veda, Monty, and Bert, and using them (as opposed to a ridiculous murder mystery) as the emotional and narrative forces for over 5 hours.
This is about a mother & her relationship to her ungreatful (disgusting) daughter. The positives: attention to detail (costumes, equipment), beautiful shots (colorful pictures, nice cinematography), great atmosphere of the late 30's. The negatives: I couldn't connect to the story & to the characters. At no time. Too long (>5hrs) for what is told. Disappointing.
Haynes has proven a master of his craft in these period melodramas, but I'm still struggling to decide if I like his films or want to like them. At this length the tragedy of cyclical behavior begins to drain our sympathies in MP, and the film is perhaps too realistic to shock. Still it has lush production and a deconstruction on the cult of the individual that develops from economic growth.
Todd Haynes' brilliance lies in provocative concepts and self-conscious stylistic mash-ups. You can't trust him to tell a story straight, and here, with style and concept diluted and pacing/logic tangled up, sins against dramaturgy nearly sink him. The finale at last gives the psychodrama the supersaturated fervor it deserves, but on TV, Haynes for once feels constrained by his format instead of commenting on it.
Haynes return to the source material pays off in a well contstructed and entertaining film. A little long at 5 1/2 hours considering Curtiz pulled off the same points at a third of the runtime. Howver the film is very entertaining: the mistreated and giving mother, the playboy, and the daughter from hell. Kate Winslet is just great making the part her own. Good support from Guy Pearce, O'Byrne and LeGros.
Ha! Ha! I actually went to the premiere with Ed (the DP) in NY last week. I learned a lot about Super 16 film.. which makes the images look softer & more dreamy, rather than grainy. The 1st episode airs tomorrow. I highly recommend watching it. As for tv screen v.s. film screen, this is definitely a trend that'll continue as long as film executives find horror films to be safer bets than stories of substance.
I have to say, I've never before been so enraged by a character (Mildred's daughter, Veda) that I applauded child abuse. Spank that bitch down, Kate! A very different film, truer to the novel (though at times weakened by it), that grows stronger in the final parts. A little ridiculous, as most melodramas are, but it's carried by the incredible acting. I heart Kate Winslet. I'm never having kids. haha
I was almost completely turned off by this because we had to watch the making of in Production Design class and it bored me so fucking much. I'm so glad I gave it a second shot! Kate Winslet's performance is near perfection, really makes you want to be miserable with her. While I thought Todd Haynes created a great rock song with Far From Heaven, this is his symphony! And you really feel the betrayal at the end.
Not the masterpiece I was expecting from Haynes after his extravagant pastiche "Far From Heaven", but still a wonderfully old-fashioned film. Kate Winslet is good, but Evan Rachel Wood steals the show as Veda - the most hideous spoiled brat in the history of cinema. Michael Curtiz' original is still far and away the best version of "Mildred Pierce", but Haynes' mini series is at least a worthy companion piece.