In this Feud: Bette & Joan episode 3 review, we’re discussing family. We weren’t quite sure that it would have a role as enormous in the series as it did, but with Bette Davis’ daughter, we saw a story tonight of what happens when show business and family collides … and how it often isn’t pretty.
Was Bette callous towards her daughter and her acting ability, or did she consider letting her go more of a necessary evil? It’s a worthy question, but the reality here was that the poor girl just couldn’t act. She was dragging What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? down, and this is something that Bette just cannot happen. That is especially true in the midst of her ever-escalating feud with Joan Crawford, which at one point included Bette actually kicking her co-star hard in the midst of what was meant to be more of a simulated scene. This was the effect of show business on one family, especially when the dream gets burned and buried. Better may have hoisted her child up too high, whereas Joan’s are lost in their own sort of disillusionment.
One of the scenes at the end of the episode was indicative of how Joan, at least the Jessica Lange version, felt about her children. She may have given them a road map and some of the various tools to succeed, but there was no caring or understanding there. She couldn’t remember when they were supposed to be home, and when they were. There’s a reason why both of these women feel so alone, and it is impart the pursuit of something so perpetually out of reach for them.
We were, of course, reminded throughout the hour-plus that Oscars were the name of the game, and what pushed Joan to have the career that Bette did in the eyes of the Academy. That’s why she wanted to submit as a lead, even though Bette was considered more of that than she was.
The movie around them crumbles
This is what happens when you sell a project based mostly on spectacle and headlines surrounding the two stars. The scenes weren’t getting done right, and the producers weren’t always willing to pay for it. Add to this the performance of Bette’s daughter, and the perception of this as a “B-movie” only continued to spread.
This is the prevailing emotion through much of Feud: Bette & Joan, or at the very least the majority of it that we’ve seen: Despair. Everyone is feeling very much sad about their current state of things or the state of the movie. There is no glee here, and the feelings of joy are fleeting.
As a limited series, Feud: Bette & Joan remains compelling. It’s also probably authentic as it can be given the circumstances. Is it a little dry? We’d argue so, given that the promos hyped it up as being a little bit juicier and crazier than it is. Nonetheless, this is a show very much about the build, and we’re getting the Oscar nominations aren’t too far down the road. Grade: B+.
To get a preview for Feud: Bette & Joan episode 4, we suggest that you head over to the link here right away!
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