Saturday, May 20, 2017

Now on HBO: Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017)

Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017) - Directed by Erin Lee Carr

By Kenny Howell

Just when you think Mommy Dead and Dearest can't get weirder and more horrible, it gets weirder and more horrible.

Director Erin Lee Carr latches on to the true crime craze that has brought Making a Murderer and the podcast Serial, with this story of a young woman who murdered her own mother.

The young woman in question is Gypsey Rose, who grew up with just about every ailment possible. She had leukemia, muscular dystrophy, needed a feeding tube, was wheelchair bound, and many other horrible things. In all that suffering, she received free trips to Disney World, a house that could accommodate her needs, and many other gifts from friends and organizations.

But things weren't exactly as they seemed, because it was discovered that Gypsey's mother Dee Dee had Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome where she would drug and manipulate her daughter into believing she has these ailments. She could even fool the doctors that treated her, which would give her treatments for the made up ailments her mother cooked up.

If it seems like I have given up too much, I haven't, as how the murder plays out takes another interesting, horrifying turn. I think Carr could have played up the angle more of just how complicit Gypsey is in the crime, given her history, but it is still a terrifyingly compelling story from HBO's documentary wing.

Mommy Dead and Dearest is now streaming on HBO Go or HBO Now.

Rating: ***

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