The premiere of ‘Mommy Dead and Dearest’ tonight unfolds like a cascade of startling revelations, delving into the tragic lives of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her mother, Dee Dee. The true crime documentary adeptly introduces fresh and unexpected details at every twist, ensuring viewers remain on the edge of their seats. While Gypsy Rose bears responsibility for Dee Dee’s demise, the film prompts contemplation about the extent of Dee Dee’s actions.
Dee Dee and her daughter, Gypsy Rose, gained notoriety post-Hurricane Katrina, with Gypsy achieving viral status for supposedly overcoming health challenges. However, in 2015, shocking revelations surfaced: Gypsy Rose was not genuinely ill. Dee Dee orchestrated an intricate scheme, persuading both Gypsy and numerous doctors of her fabricated ailments. Despite being in her 20s, Gypsy lived under her mother’s control, subjected to unnecessary medications, and presented as a medical marvel.
The pivotal moment occurred when Gypsy Rose met a boy online, ultimately leading to Dee Dee’s murder in 2015. Gypsy Rose’s subsequent Facebook post, ‘That Bitch is Dead,’ laid bare the deception. A victim of Munchausen by Proxy, Gypsy Rose fell prey to a syndrome where parents fabricate or induce illnesses in their children. Erin Lee Carr’s expert direction in the documentary tackles questions and offers insights from various angles, including Gypsy Rose herself and medical professionals.
The enthralling narrative is only part of the equation; Carr’s skillful storytelling truly makes ‘Mommy Dead and Dearest’ compelling. The seamless integration of contemporary interviews with key figures and archival footage vividly portrays Gypsy Rose’s life, dominated by her mother’s deceit. As viewers grapple with whether Gypsy Rose should be held accountable for her actions, the documentary prompts reflection on whether she fully comprehended the consequences of escaping captivity, given her distorted perception of reality. A quote from a relative late in the film adds nuance: ‘She probably would have been a perfectly fine kid… had her mom not been Dee Dee.'”