‘Should’ve known you’d know where to find the boys and the booze.’

 Aside from the above line, there’s not too much I liked about Mommie Dearest (Frank Perry, 1981). Explain:

A little bit of a rehash (lite) of Sandra Dee’s Imitation of Life appeal to Lana Turner: ‘Oh Mother, stop acting!’ A bit too easy to run into this territory when depicting a celebrity-mother/daughter relationship.

*aside: this is a great film.

Supposedly, according to the script, Joan Crawford said something like ‘the real world expects us to live a certain way.’ Who knows if she did? But, I can believe it. Interesting to consider in contrast with Dyer’s Stars.  Stars were types, images, significatory. Did stars control this? Sometimes, yes- Dyer says Joan Crawford controlled hers. Or was it the media? Certainly not entirely bottom-up controlled by fans, but taken into consideration. By Crawford? Maybe this needs a thesis…

Film finishes with some crock about Christina saying she doesn’t have the last word, accompanied by a meaningful fade where the audience is meant to clue in and think ‘Oh, haha, no she doesn’t because we just saw this movie about her, isn’t that clever’.

Second adopted son (or, third, factually- these lines are nicely fictionalised for the plot) conveniently disappears so Perry can concentrate on the mother/daughter relationship for the second half of the film. Then reappears for a mourn at Crawford’s death. If only reality was that easy.


About cinemelo

I love to write about film and comment on culture. Hopefully providing insight and interesting thoughts for fellow cultural itinerants.
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