Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 1990. The Samuel Goldwyn Company, Touchstone Pictures. Screenplay by Robert Getchell, based on the novel Stella Dallas by Olive Higgins Prouty. Cinematography by Billy Williams. Produced by Samuel Goldwyn Jr.. Music by John Morris. Production Design by James Hulsey. Costume Design by Theadora Van Runkle. Film Editing by Jerrold L. Ludwig, Bud Molin.
This overly depressing drama is a remake of the classic tearjerker Stella Dallas starring Barbara Stanwyck and Anne Shirley. In this version, Bette Midler plays a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who gets pregnant out of wedlock with a preppy rich guy (Stephen Collins). The twist here is that she decides not to marry him and instead raises the baby on her own. The child grows up into Trini Alvarado, whose ups and downs are shared with her mother until she just can’t take the embarrassment of having such a loud mouthed, vulgar mother anymore. The acting is great, but what passed for tragedy in the thirties is snobby, classist bullshit in the nineties. Alvarado comes off terribly for not being able to accept her mother, and Midler’s great sacrifice in the last third feels stupid and judgmental on poor people.