6.7/10
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Mommie Dearest (1981)

The abusive and traumatic adoptive upbringing of Christina Crawford at the hands of her mother, screen queen Joan Crawford, is depicted.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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3,918 ( 532)

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9 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mara Hobel ...
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Harry Goz ...
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Joe Abdullah ...
Captain
Gary Allen ...
Jimmy
Selma Archerd ...
Connie
Adrian Aron ...
Wedding Guest
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Storyline

The relationship between Christina Crawford and her adoptive mother Joan Crawford is presented from Christina's view. Unable to bore children, Joan, in 1940, was denied children through regular adoption agencies due to her twice divorced status and being a single working person. Her lover at the time, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lawyer Greg Savitt, was able to go through a brokerage to adopt a baby girl, who would be Christina, the first of Joan's four adoptive children. Joan believes that her own difficult upbringing has made her a stronger person, and decides that, while providing the comforts that a successful Hollywood actress can afford, she will not coddle Christina or her other children, she treating Christina more as a competitor than a daughter. Joan's treatment of Christina is often passive-aggressive, fueled both by the highs and lows of her career, the narcissism that goes along with being an actress, and alcohol abuse especially during the low times. However, Joan sees much of ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Faye Dunaway is Joan Crawford, a star...a legend...and a mother...The illusion of perfection. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 September 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Maman très chère  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$905,920, 20 September 1981, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$19,032,261

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,032,261
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview in the Hollywood Royalty DVD, Rutanya Alda says she once looked in Christina Crawford's real closet, and she did have wire hangers. See more »

Goofs

When Joan meets with Mayer in his office, she is standing in front of a large portrait featuring a group of MGM stars. This scene is supposed to be taking place circa 1943. The portrait clearly features Esther Williams standing at the end of the front row in her Roman costume for JUPITER'S DARLING, which was filmed in 1955, 12 years after Joan left Metro. See more »

Quotes

[after weathering a vicious rampage where Joan demolishes both her bedroom and bathroom]
Christina Crawford: Jesus Christ.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in RuPaul's Drag Race: RuPaul Book Ball (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

To Each His Own
Written by Jay Livingston (as Livingston) & Ray Evans (as Evans)
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"Why can't you treat me like I would be treated by any stranger on the street?"
23 February 2001 | by See all my reviews

"Because I am NOT one of your FANS!"

Simply said, this is superb trash. Enjoyable b.s. Faye Dunaway lobbied hard for the role of Joan Crawford (Christina Crawford wanted Anne Bancroft) and she admirably sinks into the part with relish. I loved the opening montage of "Joan" preparing for her day early in the morning: scrubbing her hands and nails, numbing her face in ice cubes, leafing through a script in her car, getting made-up, and then whirling around in her chair and letting loose with a breathy, "Let's go!"... Sadly, Frank Perry's direction is awkward and unsure, cutting off some sequences before they're allowed to build and letting other scenes ramble on. The movie doesn't do justice to the riveting book by Joan's adopted daughter Christina, committing to film the book's highlights, the talked-about bits where Crawford freaked out, but skimping on the details. We learn absolutely nothing about Christina's many tormented years in an L.A. Catholic Boarding School (we see her check in and we see her check out). Joan's marriage to Pepsi czar Alfred Steele and her three other adopted kids are also given the short shrift. What we do get with "Mommie Dearest" is pure, unadulterated Faye. She acts up a storm and revels in these primal opportunities. It's one of the highlights of her spotty career. **1/2 from ****


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