Mommie Dearest is a biography on the life of Joan Crawford, as written by Crawford's daughter Christina. This film takes us through the many aspects of Crawford's life, from the early days of being a young starlet just starting out, working hard to get good parts in quality films offered to her, through her Hollywood heyday of the 30's and 40's, when the name Joan Crawford ruled the silver screen and beyond.
Mommie Dearest is not only the story of how powerful Ms. Crawford was in the film industry. This movie also follows Crawford's personal life, her life and loves, marriage, and the desire to have that family she always dreamed of. We see as just at the pinnacle point in her career, right at the height of her stardom in such movies as Mildred Pierce, she opts to adopt two children, completing that perfect family picture.
We watch as Joan struggles to balance Hollywood, her love life, friends and social responsibilities, only now under the added pressure of trying to keep her family together as a unit. We follow Ms. Crawford as it seems to feel she is slipping in the movie producers and the fan's eyes, and is less than happy with how Hollywood has come to treat her. This focal point in her life, seems to make her resentful of others, mainly she seems to take out this resentment on her little daughter Christina.
Christina finds herself subject to many horrors, which at times are almost too painful to watch, but the child is resilient, and manages to struggle through. This way of life became the 'normal' for little Christina, who was made to feel uncomfortable in her own home, as well as being turned out of her own home and sent off to a school, due to petty things that annoy Ms. Crawford.
As Christina grows up, the resentment between the two women only seems to become deeper and deeper, At one point, it comes to a head, when Ms. Crawford manages to steal the part in a soap opera her daughter had been playing. The many twists and turns of the mother and daughter relationship become irreparable, right up to the point of Ms. Crawford's demise.
Mommie Dearest is a great character study of human nature, showing just how fragile it can be, and how easily it is for a life to be broken beyond compare.