Welcome to Queerty’s latest entry in our series, Queerantined: Daily Dose. Every weekday as long as the COVID-19 pandemic has us under quarantine, we’ll release a suggested bit of gloriously queer entertainment designed to keep you from getting stir crazy in the house. Each weekend, we will also suggest a binge-able title to keep you extra engaged.
The Habit-Forming: Mildred Pierce
Lion of queer filmmaking Todd Haynes makes no secret of his love of classic Hollywood, especially the melodramas of directors like Douglas Sirk or actress Joan Crawford. How fitting then, that Haynes decided to do a full-on miniseries remake of a Crawford film, substituting the great Kate Winslet in the leading role.
Many readers will note that Joan Crawford picked up her only Academy Award for the film version of Mildred Pierce. Based on the novel by uber-cynic James M. Cain, the original Hollywood version jettisoned much of the novel’s character study and class commentary, making it into a more standard Crawford vehicle. Haynes’ version, by contrast, sticks closer to the book, and revels in the soapy drama of Mildred (Winslett), a single working mother. Mildred builds a business empire and dotes over her sociopathic daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) while suffering the pains of sexism and class warfare.
Trust us when we say only Todd Haynes could direct this kind of melodrama with such artistry. Trust us too when we say that Winslet gives such a damn good performance (she won an Emmy), we’re surprised Crawford hasn’t tried to crawl out of her grave wielding a wire hanger. Don’t let the premise fool you, either: Mildred Pierce captures viewers with an iron grip. With a stellar cast that includes Guy Pearce (who also scored an Emmy), Mare Winningham, Melissa Leo and Hope Davis, the series is, for all its soapy twists, addictive as Hell. The full series runs almost six hours. Don’t be surprised if you watch it all in one sitting.
Streams on HBO Go, Amazon, YouTube, iTunes & VUDU.