A terrible movie about atrocious parenting. Based on the book by Christina Crawford, the picture details the alleged mental abuse Crawford suffered at the hands of her famous, adoptive mother Joan. It’s hard to decide which is more appalling: the parenting on display or the histrionic, campy performance by Faye Dunaway in the title role. Boozy, bossy and appearing during the movie’s hoot-worthy highlight in enough facial cream to qualify as kabuki makeup, Dunaway depicts Crawford as a woman who has gone mad trying to maintain her star status. Ferociously competitive with her own young daughter, Crawford beats her at swimming races, hacks away at her hair and makes her polish her own bathroom floor. (“Scrub Christina, scrub!”) Director Frank Perry simply sits back and lets Dunaway rip. He was either supremely untalented or he purposefully intended to sabotage her. Neither of them ever pauses to lower the movie’s volume, to consider what Crawford might have been like in her quieter, saner moments (or to capture what initially made her a timeless star). From the first frame to the last, Crawford is a monster. As such, the movie is morbidly fascinating. You watch it the way you stare at a parent who is inappropriately disciplining their child in public. As in that situation, though, Mommie Dearest mostly makes you feel embarrassed and want to turn away.