Based upon the biographical book written by legendary actress Joan Crawford's adopted daughter, Christina, Mommie Dearest portrays Joan as a raging alcoholic, abusive monster. She straps her adopted son Christopher to the bed every night so he can't escape, makes Christina scrub the floors at 3AM and beats her senselessly with wire hangers because $300 dresses do NOT belong on wire hangers from the dry cleaners.
|Mara Hobel as the baby-faced Christina Crawford|
Back then, I was captivated by little Christina (actress Mara Hobel) who appeared to be about my age. I feared for her. I cried for her. I wanted to reach into the film, grab her hand and run away with her. I wanted to take her up the safe haven of my bedroom and let her play with my Smurfs and Strawberry Shortcake dolls. I'd bring her a Whatchamacallit candy bar, some Trident, a bologna sandwich and a Hi-C juice box. I'd make it better.
As an adult, I've heard conflicting stories of the Mommie Dearest tales. Some say Christina greatly exaggerated and that Joan was a kind, caring woman who would do anything for her adopted children. We'll never know the truth. However, the movie images still haunt me and remind me of how afraid I was watching a little girl my age getting beaten up.
Where's Mara Hobel Today?
For you 80s trivia fans - Mara Hobel went on to play Charlotte Tilden, an awkward and naive girl on Roseanne. Researching for this blog post, I learned that, like me, Mara Hobel has gained quite a bit of weight since 1981. She starred as Cynthia, a sassy New York City BBW, in the gay romantic comedy, Broadway Damage. As a chubster, I wanted to high-five her for still doin' her acting thing and I love this line: "Yeah, Dad, I lost a ton of weight, I look like f**cking Kate Moss!" I can't wait to rent the indie film from Netflix. How the heck did this little gem escape my keen indie-movie eye?