"frances" is a flick based on 1930s rebel actress frances farmer whose life and great potentiality were wasted horridly in mental institution. (raped, marred and lobotomized.)and "frances" is obviously the homage to the un-compromising individuality of frances farmer who lived beyond her time, a sound proof of social intolerance to outrageous candidness on woman. and there's a great sense of anachronism in the character of frances farmer who propels her tale of "one flew over cuckoo's nest" or female james dean way too early in this world.
once a feministic author(possibly simone du bouvir) utters that society holds an enormous grudge against the woman who possesses both talent and beauty in the same time. (worse off, if she also has the edgy "IT") such woman is doomed to be ruptured by patriarchal society. beauty makes her the object of covetous desire for men, but her ego keeps her from being the willing puppet for chauvinistic sex commodity and hostility aroused around. then a misdemeanor leaves you into being diagnosed as schizophrenic, and you're F**KED.
it takes gutsy pride to announce oneself as an atheist in public speech competition at the time frances farmer lived, and she even earns a prize as well as notoriety for it in her adolescence, a teenage girl who dares to shout out "god is not there!"
then avidly ambitious frances shifts her aspiration from writing to acting since it's more immediate cannon for her spunk and wits. with her porcelain skin and statuesque looks, she reaches hollywood stardom which she rebuffs for its lack of depth, and it infuriates the mgm studio when she decides to nullify her movie contract for stage.
her life begins to collapse when her beloved stage director, whom she was having an affair with, doublecross her together with the studio, dismissing her with an informative note about his wife's arrival. this event of heart-break detonates the frances' explosive nature then it leads to the accusation of mental illness. her doom ensues.
firstly, she tries to offend the police officers who rudely abducts her from her private bathroom as well as the press by claiming her occupation is "c***s**ker". her proficiency of verbal defense/offense sinks her into even more severe discrimination. secondly, her rebellion against her overbearing mother who reports her whereabouts to the mad house, isolates her further. thirdly, the injustice of mental institution is sickeningly exploitative, and in one scene, she's ravished by numerous soldiers who buy off the guardian for their filthy privilege. "20 bucks to screw a movie star" is simply too harsh to endure. naked twisted bodies hang around grimly, an macabre image of grotesque. in the end, frances still says "i'm still me! it's one thing you cannot take away from me!!"
apparently this movie is presented in the perspective of frances' mind, the angst of a wailing individual, and everything seems like others' fault and social wreckage over her incorruptible soul. but i cannot help but wonder why other female stars in her time could still glitter and also remain individualistic without suffering so? (garbo, dietrich, crawford, davis, stanwyck..all are female avant-gardists with the sharp edge.) so why can't she be one of them?
primarily, farmer's family background is the bourgeois who settle in cozy suburbia, well-sheltered without the hard-boiled survival instincts. contradictorily, she ain't ordinary enough to mold herself in such environment. meanwhile her distinguished beauty makes people indulge her brittleness too easily. (beautiful women always tend to be spoilt. think about your other female classmates in high school.) she cannot take pressure and also too willfully idealistic to reconcile. if she ain't beautiful, she wouldn't be a sudden success. if she ain't beautiful, she wouldn't induce sexual ravages, right?
it might be inappropriate to deem "frances" as avenging outcry of individuality, and it may be more like a dirge of american dream for female individuality. you're taught in childhood, men are born equal, and everyone has his right for public speech. BUT you forget it merely means MEN.