HBO has lived this spring one of its sweetest moments with the premiere of Mare of Easttown, which has already risen as one of the best series of the year. The great interpretation of Kate winslet, who already appears on his own merits in the prize pools. But this was not the first time that the actress and the paid television platform have joined forces. Ten years ago, both of them were sweeping an adaptation into a five-episode miniseries of a book by one of the great novelists of the American noir genre, James M. Can. From the writer’s pen came works that inspired classic film incunabula such as the postman Always calls two times Y Perdition. The miniseries we are talking about today also had its film adaptation: Mildred Pierce. However, in the approach that the director Todd Haynes (Carol, Veltvet Goldmine) has wanted to give this miniseries is not so much a work of the noir genre, as a melodrama. One of those to prepare the box of tissues and prepare to spend an afternoon of tears in front of the television. Haynes has never concealed his admiration for one of the great directors of classical melodrama as he was Douglas sirk. It is an adaptation that exudes classicism on all four sides. One of these series that is to savor little by little to savor, instead of sticking big binges. Each of its hour-long episodes could be a movie in itself.
In a role far removed from that of the police officer of a small Pennsylvania town, Kate Winslet here plays a housewife from Los Angeles who in the middle years of the Great Depression for the crash of 1929 She faces the problem of having to raise her daughters after having made the decision to separate from her husband. At that time, finding a job was nothing short of a chimera. And more so for women, for whom society had very specific tasks assigned: Receptionist, housekeeper or, what was considered the worst of the worst, waitress, of which our protagonist ends. The first episodes focus on Mildred’s financial vicissitudes and the sacrifices she must make so that her two daughters don’t lack for anything. When she manages to overcome her situation and start her own business, that is when the story that they really wanted to tell us arrives: Mildred’s stormy relationship with her eldest daughter, Veda. Mildred is a fighter, capable of facing any situation. Except if it’s something to do with your daughter.
The girl, since she was little, points out ways. She is far from being an innocent creature and since then she has shown her most cruel streak. She feels destined to be a great artist and has the air of a diva. To such an extent that he is ashamed of his mother and sees her as a vulgar maid. He always knows how to deliver the worst of comments to hurt where it hurts the most. As of the fourth episode, the girl has already grown up and is played by Evan Rachel Wood, the starring actress of another of HBO Westworld’s flagship titles. The fact that since childhood she has always been spoiled and they never put her feet on the ground, leads us to tragedy. At heart, Veda is one of those fatal and calculating women that abound in the novels of James M. Can willing to manipulate whoever it takes to achieve their goals. Her character is closer to the Dolores Abernathy we saw in Westworld season three. The interpretive duel between the two actresses as mother and daughter is served, although in reality both are twelve years apart.
So far I have avoided making other references to the classic film, which in Spain was titled Soul in torment (1945). Under the direction of Michael Curtiz, Director of White House, Joan Crawford, with this performance reached the peak of her film career and won the Oscar for best actress of that year. For those unfamiliar with the movie, I would almost advise not to read any of the plot first. Although the outcome is not exactly the same, what in the television adaptation is the final bombshell, in the version for the big screen it is the start of the plot. A story of fatality that we discover through flashbacks, while in the new adaptation the story is told to us in a linear way.
So Kate Winslet had a difficult time having to fight the memory of one of the best jobs of one of the great divas of Hollywood. His work on this revision of a classic was also awarded and, in fact, Mildred Pierce was one of the miniseries with the highest number of nominations for the Emmys hoarded. Above even Mad Men. Evan Rachel Wood was also nominated for Best Secondary. but he could not get hold of the statuette. With Mildred Pierce, HBO established its reputation as a benchmark when it comes to creating prestigious miniseries. With the years they would come, Olive kitteridge (2014), the very Big Little Lies (2017), or also, to give an example of national fiction, the adaptation of Patria. An unequivocal commitment to quality television.