Chronicling a strong, but eccentric woman's devoted relationship to her daughter through the years.Chronicling a strong, but eccentric woman's devoted relationship to her daughter through the years.Chronicling a strong, but eccentric woman's devoted relationship to her daughter through the years.
Bette Midler shines as Stella, a working-class high school dropout who slings drinks in an Upstate New York bar. She meets a rich college boy (Stephen Collins) who's taken with her quirky zest for life and they have a kid. But marriage is out of the question. Stella knows in her heart she'd never fit into his world. As the kid grows up, Stella wrestles with what's best for the kid versus what she wants for herself. This quandary eventually leads to a mother's sacrifice.
Based on the 1923 novel STELLA DALLAS by Olive Higgins Prouty, this story was first filmed in 1925 with Belle Bennett and again in 1937 with Barbara Stanwyck as the star. By 1990 the story just seemed far-fetched and very old-fashioned and Midler's follow-up to the smash hit BEACHES was a box-office disappointment.
It's a shame because Midler gives a terrific performance. Her Stella is full of love and self-doubt as she rides the highs and lows of her threadbare life. She eventually ends up selling cosmetics door to door to pay for things for her daughter (Trini Alvarado). Stella puts her life on hold to give her daughter what she thinks the daughter wants. Only problem is the daughter wants something else.
Also very good in this film are John Goodman as Ed, Stella's longtime friend who's on a downward spiral, and Marsha Mason as the warm and understanding Janice, the woman who will become the daughter's step-mother.
Others in the cast include Ben Stiller, Linda Hart, Eileen Brennan, and William McNamara ... but watch this one for a great performance by Bette Midler.
- Apr 14, 2019