This is the outrageous and controversial story of legendary movie star Joan Crawford (Dunaway)and her struggle with the dual roles of fading actress and tormented mother. The public Crawford was strong-willed, glamorous and admirable, but Mommie Dearest reveals the private Crawford, the woman desperate to be a mother, adopting her children when she was single and trying to survive in the devastating movie industry. The rage, the debilitating strain, and the terrifying descent into alcoholism and child abuse are graphically and unforgettably depicted in this film.
- " Dunaway creates the benchmark for harridans the world over but never entirely loses sympathy for her subject. It's a constant blast of high melodrama and camp. " – Film4 Staff (Film4)
- " Director Frank Perry, who collaborated with three others (including producer Frank Yablans) on the script, gives it all a certain crazed conviction. " – Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader)
- " Mommie Dearest becomes a kind of homage to the monster herself – the emotions are so splendid, the scenes so dramatic, the experiences so incandescent. " – Peter Ackroyd (The Spectator)