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Mommie Dearest Blu-ray Review

“Mommie Dearest” is one strange cult movie.

Based on the book by Christina Crawford (Joan Crawford’s adopted daughter), 1981’s “Mommie Dearest” is a biographical drama movie. The film (which spans several decades) is primarily a behind-the-scenes story about the aging Joan Crawford’s career struggles, relationships, and homelife. The bulk of the story, however, revolves around the disturbing dynamic between Joan and her daughter Christina who went through years of abuse. Joan’s adopted son Christopher does appear but he is rarely seen or focused on.

Directed by Frank Perry and adapted for the screen by Perry, Frank Yablans, Tracy Hotchne and Robert Getchell, “Mommie Dearest” is really a prime example of how not to do a biopic. What could and should have been a story about the dark side of Hollywood and childhood trauma and PTSD has been turned into an unintentionally over-the-top soap opera style drama that has since become a cult classic. This is in large part due to the poor script which contains some truly puzzling moments such as the flower chopping, the infamous wire hanger moment, and the Pepsi boardroom meeting. Now, granted, there’s no denying that Faye Dunaway certainly dials up the performance here. The larger than life portrait of the perfectionist Crawford mixed with the crazed hysterics are something to behold. And yet, that’s also what makes her performance so fascinating. She goes all out here and you’re left wanting to see what she will do next. That’s what makes this movie so bizarre. You know it’s bad, you know Dunaway is in her own weird acting world, and you know it’s a disservice to the life story of Christina and yet you can’t look away from the screen.

The movie is partially effective in its depiction of Christina both as a child (played by Mara Hobel) and an adult (Diana Scarwid). Both actresses turn in believable performances as versions of Christina who is trying to grow and live under her controlling and abusive adopted mother.

Despite how one may feel about the movie itself, it is visually engaging. The production team really captures the aesthetic of the time period along with recapturing the look of Crawford’s own style and home.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? Fans will be happy to know this hi-def transfer is nice and crisp.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The 5.1 track is adequate, but there are several instances where the dialogue is too low. You’ll likely have to adjust the volume a few times.


Extras:
* Digital copy
* Original theatrical trailer
* Photo gallery
* A new Filmmaker Focus segment with biographer Justin Bozung talking about director Frank Perry.
* 2 commentary tracks. A new one by Drag Queen Hedda Lettuce and the other by filmmaker John Waters who is an uber fan of the movie.
* “The Revival Of Joan”- An archival extra that contains interviews about the real Joan Crawford, the adaptation of the book and factoids about the “Mommie Dearest” film.
* “Life With Joan”- This extra covers the original opening, Faye Dunaway on set, major scenes in the movie and more.
* “Joan Lives On”- This extra is mostly about the reaction to the movie and the impact it had on Dunaway.

August 8, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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