Who plays Clare’s mother in Tiny Beautiful Things?

By Adam Lock
Published: April 8, 2023 (Last updated: March 11, 2024)
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Who plays Clare’s mother in Tiny Beautiful Things? This article discusses the character of Clare’s mother and the actress who portrays her in the Hulu miniseries. This article contains spoilers. 

The Hulu series Tiny Beautiful Things was released in full on Good Friday, April 7th, 2023, instantly winning over critics and audiences alike.

Adapted from Cheryl Strayed’s novel of the same name, this critically acclaimed comedy-drama series depicts the eventful life of Clare Pierce (Kathryn Hahn), an anonymous advice columnist struggling with her multitude of problems.

The series uses emotive flashback sequences to address Clare’s upbringing and formative years, mainly focusing on her bitter-sweet relationship with her mother. But who was Clare’s mom, and which actress portrayed her?

Who plays Clare’s mother in Hulu’s Tiny Beautiful Things?

In the Tiny Beautiful Things series, created by Liz Tigelaar (Little Fires Everywhere), Clare’s mother is played by actress Merritt Wever.

Born and raised in Manhattan, New York, Merritt Wever has starred in countless films and TV shows in her illustrious career for well over twenty years now. In her latest role, she plays Frances Pierce, aka Frankie.

Who is Frankie in Tiny Beautiful Things?

Frankie is Clare’s mother. She is portrayed by Merritt Wever in flashbacks and dream sequences alone. The show cuts back and forth between Clare’s past and present, addressing the profound effect her mother had on the writer growing up.

It is quickly established that Frankie is a single mother struggling to raise her two kids, Clare (Sarah Pidgeon) and Lucas, all on her own. At Christmas, she buys them cheap but well-meaning gifts.

Later, Frankie is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her health rapidly deteriorates, and she becomes bed-bound in the hospital. Clare is told that her mother has maybe two weeks left to live. She decides to go and find her wayward brother so that the siblings can say goodbye to their mother together before it is too late.

Unfortunately, Frankie dies before Clare has the chance to say her final goodbye. This traumatic event causes Clare to become a bitter and regretful adult who distances herself from the brother she has always blamed.

In hindsight, Clare sees her mother as the perfect parent, fighting to provide for her family. She was sweet and caring, offering her children sound advice and life-affirming memories. She was a real inspiration overall, and Clare eventually realizes that in the end.

What is Merritt Wever known for?

Merritt Wever has been starring in Hollywood movies and TV shows since the mid-nineties, but she has only really started breaking into the big time in recent years. After minor roles in Signs and Into the Wild, Wever has gone on to build herself a successful career as a character actor, starring in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) and Marriage Story.

TV-wise, Wever has also gone from strength to strength. She had more prominent roles in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and New Girl before landing leading roles in Netflix’s Godless and Unbelievable. She is also rumored to be starring in the next season of Apple TV+’s Severance. Merritt Wever is a talented actress who continues to excel at her craft.

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