MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 401 this week

Mommie Dearest (1981)

6.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 8,736 users  
Reviews: 151 user | 61 critic

Mommie Dearest, best selling memoir, turned motion picture, depicts the abusive and traumatic adoptive upbringing of Christina Crawford at the hands of her mother...screen queen Joan Crawford.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 49 titles
created 27 Jan 2011
 
a list of 30 titles
created 16 Jan 2013
 
a list of 36 titles
created 14 Jun 2013
 
a list of 25 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 29 titles
created 10 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Mommie Dearest" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Mommie Dearest (1981)

Mommie Dearest (1981) on IMDb 6.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Mommie Dearest.

User Polls

8 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A former child star torments her crippled sister in a decaying Hollywood mansion.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

After her cheating husband leaves her, Mildred Pierce proves she can become independent and successful, but cannot seem to win the approval of her spoiled daughter.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott
On the Bridge (1992)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A documentary of director Perry's own fight with cancer, which he ultimately lost in 1995.

Director: Frank Perry
Stars: Frank Perry, Lauren Bacall, Ohad Rossen
The Secret Storm (1954–1974)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.4/10 X  

Family secrets and hidden passions are the hallmarks of this dark, moody serial. Set in the fictional community of Woodbridge, New York, The Secret Storm tells the story of the ... See full summary »

Stars: Julie Mannix, Larry Weber, Keith Charles
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Howard Da Silva ...
Mara Hobel ...
...
Harry Goz ...
Michael Edwards ...
...
...
Joe Abdullah ...
Captain
Gary Allen ...
Jimmy
Selma Archerd ...
Connie
Adrian Aron ...
Wedding Guest
...
Christopher Crawford (adult)
Edit

Storyline

Based on the book about Joan Crawford, one of the great Hollywood actresses of our time, written by her adopted daughter Christina Crawford. Joan decides to adopt children of her own to fill a void in her life. Yet, her problems with alcohol, men, and the pressures of show business get in the way of her personal life, turning her into a mentally abusive wreck seen through the eyes of Christina and her brother Christopher, who unwillingly bore the burden of life that was unseen behind the closed doors of "The Most Beautiful House in Brentwood." Written by Geoffrey A. Middleton <gamidd01@morehead-st.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The greatest role of her life...was her life. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 September 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Maman très chère  »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Faye Dunaway did not always categorically refuse to talk about the film : in a late 1980s French interview, the actress stated she felt the Crawford role was a sort of "Kabuki theatre performance" and later, when asked by James Lipton in her "Inside the Actor's Studio" episode, she reluctantly admitted "Mommie dearest" was an authentic "exploitation film". See more »

Goofs

Young Christina is obviously holding a wig on while Joan furiously tries to brush out her hair (before resorting to those effective scissors). See more »

Quotes

Pepsi Chairman: Apparently the Board has failed to realize the extent of your interest in the company, apart from Al's position. We... misjudged. We shall be... pleased... to have you stay on.
Joan Crawford: Thank you, gentlemen. Now let's get to work...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Twelve (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

June In January
Written by Ralph Rainger (as Rainger) & Leo Robin (as Robin)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

There is no doubt that Christina Crawford's scathing 1978 memoirs did much initial harm to her late mother's reputation. The subsequent 1981 film has eclipsed even the bestselling book to become the standard by which the real-life Joan is judged. However, I'm inclined to believe that those who dismiss Joan today as a psychotic harpy and nothing more never even saw the film version of "Mommie Dearest," and only heard secondhand reports of the most infamous scene ("No...wire...hangers!").

Most tellingly, Christina Crawford reportedly hated the film version of her book, and wailed upon seeing it, "They turned it into a Joan Crawford movie!" She's right. With the exception of the two most graphic scenes ("No wire hangers" and the choking scene), Joan's "abuse" of Christina is not all that much different from what passed as "discipline" in those days--just ask your parents or grandparents--and despite Faye Dunaway's full-throttle acting, Joan always somehow comes off in a strangely sympathetic light.

What we see is an insecure woman fighting for survival in an age-obsessed, male-dominated industry. Such scenes as Joan's heartless dismissal from MGM invite sympathy; while her snarling, veritable takeover of Pepsi Co. elicts cheers for her ballsiness and strength. Christina, on the other hand, is invariably depicted as either gratingly whiny or cardboard stiff. It's difficult to empathize with such an annoying character.

"Mommie Dearest"'s grandest artistic achievement is through the impeccable art direction, which truly makes the audience believe they are watching a film unfold in the 1940's and 1950's. Its lasting legacy, however, is Faye Dunaway's career-ending performance, which, depending on your point of view, is either jaw-droppingly awful or unbelievably brilliant.

Dunaway's acting "choices" are nothing if not idiosyncratic: clutching her bosom frantically as she cries, "You...deliberately...embarass me in front of a REPORTER!"; copying the real-life Crawford's facial expressions from the horror flick "Strait-Jacket" in the axe-wielding scene; and, most famously, her odd, cross-eyed pose that she strikes not once, or twice, but three times: holding baby Christina on the staircase, rubbing moisturizer on her elbows after hiding Christina's dolls, and following her wire hanger/cleansing powder attack.

It is Dunaway's nostril-flaring, hair-pulling, bosom-clutching style that really sends this film into the camp stratosphere. On paper, such scenes as Joan swatting Christina on the butt for defying her orders, or Joan insisting that Christina finish her rare steak, would seem bland. In Dunaway's hands, they become something else altogether!

Actually, Christina Crawford should thank Faye Dunaway; if not for her crazed, unforgettable portrayal, "Mommie Dearest" would have been just another trashy Hollywood memoir that eventually would've been forgotten (does anyone really care about B.D. Hyman's book about Bette Davis anymore?). And a film version without Dunaway would've been rightfully panned, forgotten, and relegated to cut-out bins at your local video emporium. Instead, Faye Dunaway has ensured its place in film immortality. It still stands alone among camp classics, but perhaps some re-evaluation of it (and of Joan Crawford herself) is due.


75 of 92 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
'Mommie Dearest' Hits home for me. tminnie
How could anyone find this movie funny? coupleofflakes2
I think Christina's story checks out. And there is proof. j-s-inbrewer
Why Did everyone dislike the movie so much? Kylkoog
What's wrong with wire hangers? Normal-Bates
One of My Mother's Favourite Films -Saw Nothing Wrong With the Behaviour cgrady-2
Discuss Mommie Dearest (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?