The Undoing (HBO 2020)

5 Kernels

I binged the first five episodes this weekend, and then topped it off with the newly released season finale. It did not disappoint.

Let me say that Hugh Grant ages well. He will be handsome until his dying day. However, I never thought him a great actor until seeing him in this production of The Undoing. Stellar performance along side Nicole Kidman, who ruins my self esteem as I see her skinny body at 53 years of age and beautiful hair. Besides the physical appearances of these two stars, they make a great couple in this thriller of a story of who done it.

Meet Dr. Johnathan Fraser, an oncologist, and Grace Fraser, his wife, the psychologist. They are a power couple, rich, happy, with a fine young son attending a private school for the rich. Then arrives Elena into Grace’s circle of friends helping with the annual fund raiser for their school. She’s not as classy or rich, because her son has a scholarship. She comes to their first meeting, with a baby in arms, and unashamedly breastfeeds her daughter in front of the women. Needless to say it’s easy to see she’s not from their class.

As Elena oddly greets and speaks with Grace, she becomes uneasy and tells her husband about it. He laughs it off, but unbeknown to Grace there is more to the story than meets the eye. When Elena ends up dead, cruelly bludgeoned to death, the truth seeps out in bits and pieces “undoing” their perfect family picture.

Rather than spoil the show for you, I’ll highly recommend this series as a must watch for those who love the thriller who-done-it type stories. I hope Hugh gets a nod of an award for this performance. It was fantastic.

HBO Grabs Drama ‘The Gilded Age’ From NBC – Broadcasting & Cable

‘Downton Abbey’ principals look at American Gilded Age of 1885

Source: HBO Grabs Drama ‘The Gilded Age’ From NBC – Broadcasting & Cable

Mildred Pierce (HBO Series 2011)

mildred piece3 Stars

Streaming on Amazon Prime is another remake of Mildred Pierce starring Kate Winslet, Guy Pearce, and Evan Rachel Wood, among others.  I vaguely remember the 1945 version with Joan Crawford, but watching this version was an entirely new experience and a depressing one, to say the least.

What is it about mothers and daughters?  Just like fathers and sons, the mother and daughter dynamic can be a bitch.  Mildred Pierce is based on a novel about a woman in the depression era 1930s, whose husband has an affair. She kicks him out of the house and is left alone with two daughters to raise and no money. She’s a great cook, fantastic baker, and after taking a job as a waitress, finally opens her own restaurant and it’s a hit.

However, this story is not so much about her great chicken, waffles, and scrumptious pies, it’s about her daughter Veda.  Her daughter has a snobbish screw loose in her head and is embarrassed by her mother at every turn.  She dreams of becoming a concert pianist but doesn’t have the natural talent to succeed.  When she grows up into a young woman, she discovers she has a voice and can sing like an angel. Unfortunately, the girl is a demon, to say the least.  Veda is a spoiled, manipulative, mother-hating machine, causing destruction in her mother’s life.  Well played by Evan Rachel Wood, you’ll want to strangle her yourself by the end of the series.

Kate Winslet, of course, is great.  Does Kate ever do anything terrible? I’ve yet to see her in a role that didn’t touch my heart one way or the other.  Guy Pearce (no relation to the fictional Mildred Pierce) is her on and off lover who has an agenda of his own.  Mildred is slightly blind when it comes to being used by others, which is her flaw.  You might get a little bored with too many restaurant scenes, pie baking, piano playing, and singing.  I think they could have cut out a good hour of filler, but I’m not the director/producer.  Be prepared for a few sex scenes and naked bodies, which probably take too long as well. Mildred slaps Veda across the face and gives her a good spanking in her younger years, both of which I endured at the hand of my mother and survived.

The movie is a bummer if you’ve had a bad relationship with your mother growing up or a child that you could not control and hated. Nevertheless, it is a good story if you like the dramatic emotional type with a complex mother/daughter relationship.  Of course, Mildred isn’t so much the mommy dearest in this tale as Veda is the monster and rotten child.

In the end, Mildred can finally say, “to hell with her.”  It just takes her five episodes to get there.