A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Family, and the choices we make to accommodate them, emerge as the core themes of this film. Mildred is a loving mother, but her love for her daughter, Veda, also allows her to overlook some of Veda's worst traits, which comes back to haunt Mildred later in life. Hard work is celebrated through much of the film, though ultimately Mildred loses much that she's struggled to achieve.
Positive Role Models
Mildred is a single mother in dire straits who uses her smarts and talent to care for her family and find success. She's a particularly strong and well-rounded female character who always tries to do the right thing, even if it may not turn out for the best. But Mildred consistently turns a blind eye to her daughter's scheming, social climbing ways, which only exacerbates the behavior.
Violence & Scariness
Mildred slaps her daughter, Veda, two times; Veda slaps her mother. Mildred spanks her daughter. When Veda is an adult, Mildred chokes her. A child dies onscreen.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Groping, full nudity, and insinuation of sexual acts, as well as graphic sex. Buttocks, breasts, and frontal female nudity are shown.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Swearing includes "bastard," as well as very occasional uses of "damn" and "hell."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Frequent cigarette smoking; children are given glasses of water with bits of scotch in them. Children pretend that they're drunk. A 14-year-old girl smokes in front of her mother.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that in Mildred Pierce, star Kate Winslet gives a stunning lead performance, whether she's in or out of her clothes -- and she's frequently out of them. Graphic, grinding sex, plus groping and insinuations of sex, are only a few of the reasons why this HBO miniseries is best for mature teens and adults. Perhaps even more problematic for younger viewers are the shocking death of Pierce's younger daughter and her older daughter's frequently awful behavior toward her mother.
Is It Any Good?
Told as a five-part miniseries and directed by Todd Haynes, this miniseries has a lot to like. Winslet's performance as Mildred is absolutely mesmerizing, the writing is sharp, and supporting performances by Guy Pearce as Mildred's lover, Monty Beragon, and Wood as Veda are excellent. Fans of period dramas will be thrilled with the historically accurate and sumptuous set design, as well as the frocks sported by the actresses.
The sex scenes -- while beautifully filmed -- are graphic enough to make teens blush in the presence of parents. If families do want to view Mildred Pierce together, expect lively discussions surrounding the relationship between Mildred and Veda, as well as speculation about why Veda's behavior grows progressively worse.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Drama Movies That Tug at the Heartstrings
Positive Role Model TV for Girls
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate