In depression era Los Angeles, housewife Mildred Pierce thinks of nothing but the happiness of her two daughters, sweetheart Ray and condescending Veda. So after leaving her kindhearted yet philandering husband, she is forced to a job waitressing, which brings her great embarrassment at first but leads to a personal business venture with her ex-husband's partner. After a booming success, her relationship with a mysterious heir and naivety about her cruel and selfish daughter will lead to her eventual downfall. "Mildred Pierce" is a sumptuous, intelligent, and sprawling adaptation of James M. Cain's hard boiled novel, filmed before in a 1945 version. Written and helmed by Todd Haynes, a director with a great knack for period detail ("Far from Heaven", "I'm Not There."), the serial is a precise realization of his source material. At its center, Kate Winslet ignores all standards set by Joan Crawford in her Oscar winning role and gives a (typically) remarkable performance, bringing humanity and believability to an often frustrating individual. In a supporting role, Guy Pearce is equally excellent likewise bringing complexity and believability to a sleazeball who should immediately set off warning signs in our hero's head, but with whom she is instead intensely attracted. Evan Rachel Wood is miscast and doesn't have the acting chops to play Veda, but her story goes to intriguing places, and the film's climax towards the end of the final chapter is nothing short of haunting. "Mildred Pierce" is a dark yet splendid account of blinded dedication, and a great example of book to film (miniseries) adaptation.