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Frances

Frances (1982)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 0

audience

78

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Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 3,339

My Rating

Movie Info

As played by Jessica Lange, Frances Farmer is a rebel from the word go, winning a high school essay award by writing a piece in defense of Communism. Determining to become an actress, Frances is equally determined not to play the Hollywood game: she refuses to acquiesce to idiotic publicity stunts, and insists upon appearing on screen sans makeup. Her defiance attracts the attention of Broadway playwright Clifford Odets, who convinces Frances that her future rests with the Group Theatre. But

Mar 15, 2000

LionsGate Entertainment

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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (1) | DVD (8)

Jessica Lange and Kim Stanley give superb performances as the troubled actress Frances Farmer and her domineering mother, compensating for the shapeless narrative, which is too ridden with cliches of showbiz biopics.

June 15, 2005 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

In one year (along with "Tootsie") Lange went from joke to respect.

January 1, 2005
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

Harrowing story well played by Lange.

December 28, 2004

Lange is wonderful, and provides a searing, tremendous reason to see a film that would otherwise collapse under even a moment of analytical pressure.

July 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

Jessica Lange's outstanding performance offers an intriguing portrait of Frances Farmer, an actress who marched to the beat of her own drummer and paid the price.

January 17, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Despite the cardboard characters she's surrounded by, Jessica Lange single-handedly makes this depressing film worth watching.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Frances

A beautiful actress with a rebellious streak is plagued by perceived mental illness.
Jessica Lange, who received a well-deserved Oscar nomination for this role, delivers a gut-wrenching performance in the title role. Her free-spirited portrayal of healthy Frances is tempered by the film's plot, which puts her through the barbarity that we once called medicine in mental health. Sam Shepard is also quite strong as one of Frances's few supporting friends.
It may be that the film can't fashion a believable narrative out of the facts, but the idea that Frances would go back to her mother after many of the events the film depicts defies all we know about the character, and her meager excuse that "She's still my mother" in the words of Rocky the Flying Squirrel "Just doesn't wash."
Overall, regardless of its plot-related flaws, you should see this film if only for Lange who plumbs emotional depths to produce a tragically wounded character.
October 8, 2012
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Wonderful biopic of the late 1930s Hollywood star Frances Farmer that tells a little known yet horrific, story but is over-Hollywoodised. Jessica Lange makes a miraculous job in playing Frances with paranoia in her rolling eyes and makes her look-like a madwoman indeed. And I think Kim Stanley who played France's mother, Lillian, is perfectly. The movie shows how someone can be completely destroyed by misunderstandings, enlarged by a ridiculous amount of media attention.
This is truly a very discomforting look at how the human spirit can be totally crushed by tragic, though changeable, circumstances.
July 1, 2011
deano
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

The film starts as a standard biopic, charting the success of actress Frances Farmer in all her mundane glory. There are scenes of her atheism, lack of fear towards becoming a social outcast when she journeys to Communist Russia, and a very quick rise to prominence at a major studio. These are the trivial aspects to the rebellious Farmer, not wanting to be labeled a Hollywood starlet, but instead a Broadway actress, even starring in a play while staying out of the press' spotlight. It's when she becomes blacklisted by her former Hollywood studio and forced to leave the stage for low budget B-movies that Farmer cracks, leading to arrests on the charge of assault and battery, trying to force the men keeping her from doing what she wants to look at her as outspoken. Still, Farmer's antics become outrageous and erratic, screaming at police officers, psychiatrists, and her own mother. Her exploits are spread across the papers, and her only recourse seems to be more screaming and physical violence towards everyone around her. In these instances there is an element of over the top Hollywood spin on the film, to create more drama. The thing that makes this film amazing, is Farmer's relationship with her mother, who continually admits her to filthy mental hospitals, from which her daughter runs away with her longtime boyfriend, Harry. In the final part of the film, we are finally shown an act that diminishes everything Farmer strode for: independence, her own voice, her own life. It's taken away, and replaced by mild temperament and neutral stance. It's quite a powerful scene, and anyone who watches will be terrified by society and their lengths to keep outspokenness in the Dark Ages. Dramatic and wild, Frances is hard to swallow, but captivating to watch.
June 30, 2011
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

Frances left me feeling (obviously not as) torn as Frances Farmer herself in watching it. On the one hand I praise it for Jessica Lange's powerhouse performance as the fiery Farmer, which is reason alone enough to watch Frances. Then on the other end of the spectrum the production values on this movie age it horrible and I'm pretty sure the set designer has or had glaucoma. Frances is also an incredibly sad movie and for as good as it is, the subject matter, last 20 minutes and running time make it such a goddamn bear to get through. And what's more difficult to deal with concerning this movie is that I've dated women more batshit crazy then Farmer was made out to be and she's the one that gets lobotomized. Life's definitely not fair, but its more sad...
May 11, 2010
mjgildea

Super Reviewer

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