I read somewhere that Winslet had a perfect face for suffering (she also has a perfect face for sex/love scenes but that's for another day...) and as each minute of the series went by, I couldn't help but wholeheartedly agree with this thought.
Of course, I love Kate and I resented how much the actresses who played Veda Pierce made her suffer (Evan Rachel Wood I see you...) but Kate is such a dignified sufferer!
With that in mind, I give you my favorite ten "Mildred is in pain" moments. She truly should be eligible for martyrdom.
10. Mildred remembers her dead child (and in retrospect probably wishes she'd been alive and Veda gone for good)
9. Mildred discovers Veda is a ho.
8. Mildred discovers Veda hates her (for the umpteenth time! Sister truly has some sort of ADD when it comes to her demonic daughter)
7. Mildred discovers she's always chasing rainbows.
Speaking of which, did anyone else think that Evan Rachel Wood would make the perfect actress for whenever they make a biopic of Florence + the Machine?
6. Mildred rekindles with Veda. I loved how the hair department changed Kate's do and aged her effortlessly with a little more hair here and there. I don't think I've seen such flawless makeup and costume design in any movie in a very long time.
5. Mildred finds out why Veda loves Monty so much (this reaction scene alone should give Winslet the Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG this year).
I easily could've done a top ten featuring all the evil stares Veda gives Mildred, but I honestly have never hated a character more than I do her. The very idea of what she represents makes me want to call Wood's character from True Blood so she will kidnap Veda and turn her into her eternal slave.
4. Mildred finds her voice by going all Ursula on Veda's ass. If you haven't seen it I won't spoil it.
Yet again, if you haven't seen it, what the hell are you waiting for?
3. "To hell with her".
2. This was inarguably my favorite shot in the entire miniseries. For starters I had no idea Todd Haynes shot such great sex scenes. Most of his films are so asexual, even Velvet Goldmine's extravagant orgies and Poison's homoeroticism feel too much like Jarman-esque aesthetic experiments done for the sake of art. The love scenes between Mildred and Monty though are astonishingly hot!
This list is about Mildred suffering and you might be wondering what the hell does this have to do with any pain. Well, I'll pull out the snob card and resort to Hermann Hesse, who in one of my favorite books said that, and I'm paraphrasing, the facial expressions achieved during orgasm are only similar to those made by someone on the instants before their death.
In this particular scene, Mildred's surrender to Monty's voraciousness kills her. She never goes back from this moment and everything spirals down for her. I love how Haynes and DP Ed Lachman shot this, so it seems that the two people have become one. This notion that Mildred can only beat Monty if she owns him (and therefore he becomes just a body whose head has been swallowed by her vagina) gives the whole series a fascinating subtext about the evolution and mishaps of feminism in the face of a mostly male world.
Isn't the whole point of the series that Mildred fails as a woman because she can not fulfill her role of mother and wife?
How she manages to display fear, tenderness, resentment, love and joy at the same time? Who knows. This scene makes a case for why Winslet is one of the finest actresses of all time.
What were your thoughts on Mildred Pierce? Do you think Winslet is the real deal?