Norma Rae - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Norma Rae Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
A fantastic social drama, and still relevant today too! Field is perfect, and she even won an award for this performance, so if you're a fan don't miss this one. It's a really good movie.
Super Reviewer
March 8, 2007
Sally Field makes her outstanding performance (she won her first Best Actress Oscar) as a southern textile work attempting to unionise the mill with the aid of organiser Ron Leibman. Film is based on a true story and has good eyes and ears for authenticity. Entire case is first rate.
Super Reviewer
September 13, 2008
Sally Field is such a very good actress and shines in: Norma Rae.

Field plays Norma Rae whom lives in a very small town. Her livelihood depends on her job at the local and very established factory until one day things start to change for the worse. Norma then decides to take a stance and fight for a Union to get better compensation that is rightfully there's. This is an insiring film and Sally Field does a very good job with this role...very believable from start to finish....worth spending your time to see this 80's classic.
Super Reviewer
July 7, 2007
Norma Rae is an uplifting story of a woman starting the first union at a factory. I really got into it.
Super Reviewer
½ April 1, 2007
sally's the whole show
Super Reviewer
January 23, 2014
Kind of a relic from a bygone era, Norma Rae is a female unionist who goes through much of the trials and tribulations that one goes through in organizing a union in a hostile environment. Sally Field was nonetheless aptly rewarded for giving it her all.
½ April 26, 2016
Oh yes, the seventies, when feminism was a popular subject. Field gives a stellar performance as a worker who teams up with the union. The overall story is a bit slow but the cast shines even when the direction is lacking.
½ May 30, 2015
Good performance from Sally Field. Reminiscent of Silkwood, but Norma Rae is easily the better movie for me. The characters feel real, and I'm glad at the way they handled Norma Rae and Reuben's relationship (keeping it barely platonic) and also Norma Rae and her husbands relationship, and while not making Beau Bridges' character a saint, doesn't make him a villain, either.
½ November 14, 2014
***Due to the recent RT changes that have basically ruined my past reviews, I am mostly only giving a rating rather than a full review.***
July 31, 2014
Such an inspiringly written screenplay and performance by the ring leading lady Sally Field.

I love Sally Field in this, I need to see more of her films. The next one will be Places in the Heart.

She is so pretty and she knows how to use her talent of acting well.

This is such a great film.
½ August 5, 2013
Emocionante e envolvente. Um belo comentário social com excelentes atuações e uma direção direta, sem compromissos e breguice barata.
November 25, 2012
Motoko and I both give it 5 stars. Sally Fields and everything else in this 1979 flick on unionizing the textile mills is 5 stars. Even if you're a Republican, you should see it.
½ October 22, 2012
Gritty picture with top notch performances all around. I love Beau Bridges' under-appreciated role here.
August 7, 2012
Because Gidget Can't Be a Commie!

Really, Sally Field's wholesome image made her better at this role than your Jane Fonda or your Faye Dunaway might have been. I don't, as we've established, much like Jane Fonda, but it isn't for the same reason quite a lot of people disliked her in 1979. I don't want to discuss her Vietnam War protesting days here, not least because I don't want to have to clear up a bunch of urban legends about her, but the fact remains that she [i]had[/i] protested the Vietnam War. When she made [i]The China Syndrome[/i] that same year, that was believable. In 1979, people expected Jane Fonda to raise a ruckus. I like Faye Dunaway quite a lot, but her screen image in 1979 was one of a woman who was mostly interested in doing what was best for her. It was hard to believe that she would give up everything for a union. But Sally Field? You just can't distrust a union run by Sally Field, no matter what your usual feelings toward unions are. I mean, she was the flying nun!

Here, she is a small-town mill worker. Norma Rae has not lived the most wholesome life. She has two children by different fathers, and one of the fathers was married to someone else at the time of conception. She has another married boyfriend. She works for J. P. Stevens, a non-unionized mill. Her mother experiences temporary deafness one day, and that is when we learn that Norma Rae is known for having a big mouth--wanting breaks and ear plugs and a feminine hygiene product dispenser. They promote her to shut her up, but she can't take it and takes the demotion to keep her friends. She is perfectly suited to listen to union organizer Reuben Warshowsky (Ron Leibman) when she comes to town. She is trying to have a normal life with her new husband, Sonny Webster (Beau Bridges), but she is changing into a die-hard union organizer. And for all that, she isn't having an affair with Reuben, though everyone--including Sonny--kind of assumes she is.

I am not inclined to trust corporations to have the best interests of their employees in mind. I think the government and unions work together to keep abuses in check. I've never been a union member myself, but I've never worked in an industry which had them. The service industry isn't strongly unionized. A lot of Americans disagree with me about my feelings, though, and everyone knew that an American movie about a union organizer has an uphill battle to get acceptance in a lot of circles. (There's a certain irony to Field's Oscar win for this, given the Oscars were created in a futile attempt to keep the movie industry from unionizing.) And of course, Americans are led enough by their media that support of unions went up after the release of this film, though of course it's long since gone back down again. This movie, I think, serves to remind people that unions have done good things over the years. The abuses we see at the plant were common and are not in unionized plants. And, yes, management tried to turn blacks and whites against one another.

The "real Norma Rae," Crystal Lee Sutton, wanted her story to be, if anything, a documentary. She didn't want a Big Hollywood Movie. She was especially annoyed that the 55-year-old West Virginia coal miner was turned into a New York garment worker in the movie; the implication as she saw it, and she's not entirely wrong, was that the backward country folk needed a Big City Hero to organize their hick town. Though it is worth noting that the outside organizer doesn't understand their ways and needs a woman of the people to help him make a dent; the first union meeting in the movie has barely a dozen people. However, it's also true that Americans don't watch documentaries often, much less change their opinions because of them. If Crystal Lee wanted to have an impact, she needed to reach a big audience. It is a sad truth that you have to do that through fiction. And indeed, a second movie about her life--and death, and fight with her insurance company--would have more influence that anything Michael Moore would say about her.

Norma Rae is not a perfect woman. She isn't the plucky, wholesome woman looking to find herself that the movie's poster promises, either. She's a woman beaten down by life in a lot of ways. She's slept around, and not all of the men she's slept with have been worth her time. She lives with her parents. She works in a job where she has a choice of dead end or stuck between management and the people. Yeah, probably at least part of the reason she starts organizing is sexual attraction to Reuben, though she never does act on it beyond a little harmless skinny-dipping. However, if we are waiting for perfect heroes, especially outside fiction, we're going to have a long wait. America was willing to forgive Norma Rae, because she was Gidget and the flying nun and otherwise a symbol of wholesome American innocence. But Norma Rae wasn't all that wholesome, and she certainly wasn't innocent. And that's the only reason she was able to get anything accomplished.
May 21, 2012
What more can you say about this based-on-a-true-story story about the plight of textile workers in the 60's South? Sally Field blows you away in her first Oscar win. Iconic climax.
½ September 5, 2011
Inspiring. One ordinary woman standing up to fix a broken system to help others - despite no gain for herself.
½ June 9, 2011
Just like in the Movie, I'm holding up a Sign!!! Okay, who didn't love this Movie & Sally Field in it? Not to mention her Notorious Oscar Acceptance Speach~ "You Liked Me, You Really Liked Me" ~~~ I Liked It, I Really Liked it
½ October 11, 2010
Had to watch this for a class on civic communication. I really did not enjoy this movie. Sally Field was not bad in it, but I found it hard to identity with her character at all. Yes, Norma Rae Webster in the film fought for unions and rights, but at the same time she was obsessive, slept around, neglected her kids, and whined about every little thing. Though I agree with the films message, overall, this did little to nothing for me.
January 20, 2010
THANK GOD FOR SALLY FIELD . . . NORMA RAE is inspiring and heart warming.

The Man is sticking-it to his employees and Norma Rae stands-up to The Man and CLEANS-UP the workplace.

". . . THE MAN!!!!!!!!"
great film.
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