Telly Talk Oracle
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- Member Since
- September 2000
From what I understand Christina's book was written after Joan had died. Apparently, even Better thought that was a low class dodge, writing such a book when Joan couldn't defend herself.
Mommie Dearest, and Faye Dunaway, have their moments, but imho the film relies too much on sensationalism, as opposed to presenting a more nuanced picture of the actress. Joan may not have been a barrel of laughs, but it seems she was possibly also an abused child, as well as an alcoholic. That doesn't excuse anything, but it's part of the whole picture.
Several people have come out to say they only had positive experiences with Joan, such as Anne Blythe and Joan's two other adopted girls. I also read that Christina and Christopher were very difficult children to raise. Again, that doesn't excuse any form of child abuse, but it's part of the whole story. The film never delved into the complexities of a woman who still fascinates the public some 40 years after her death.
Still, the film is a hoot, albeit a dark one, considering the subject matter.
People also criticized Bette Davis daughter for writing "My Mother's Keeper" before Bette had died. So ya just can't win. Although "Mommie Dearest" was a much better book. The problem with the movie was that, as a couple of latter-day reviewers pointed out, was the lack of effective transitions between the scenes and the eras, causing the movie to feel just silly --- not so much the "outrageous" events which were supposedly true.
Faye Dunaway and Christina both disliked the film due to its campishness, and yet for completely different reasons. Faye, who actively lobbied for the part when the book was already infamous, then tried to pretend she didn't approve of Christina's portrait of Joan -- making Faye a hypocrite from Hades. In contrast, Christina told Larry King a few years ago that the movie didn't make her mother out to be any more extreme than she was, but just different --- a glamorous woman wanted be obeyed, but in real life, there was no placating a raging, abusive narcissist like Joan, no matter how much you complied with her demands.
To me, the oddest thing about the film is that it's not even sympathetic towards Christina. Maybe that's what the filmmakers thought was "nuance", but when my reaction to a movie about child abuse is the urge to punch the little girl in the face, something has gone amiss.
A very good point, and one I'd frankly never really thought of before.