Ronee Blakley - Rotten Tomatoes

Ronee Blakley

Highest Rated:   63% Lightning Over Water (1980)
Lowest Rated:   63% Lightning Over Water (1980)
Birthplace:   Caldwell, Idaho, USA
Blakley recorded two country/folk albums in the early 1970s, featuring mainly songs she wrote and arranged herself. The songs combine themes and genres in surprising ways, incorporating cues from country, folk and blues. On her debut album, a Moog synthesizer appears; so does an ode to Black Panthers martyr Fred Hampton and a gospel number. Between the two albums, she showed herself at home in both the confessional mode often associated with '70s stars like Joni Mitchell and the twangier, sillier, schmaltzier Nashville style. Blakley may be most widely known now for her performance as country superstar Barbara Jean in Robert Altman's 1975 film Nashville. She was nominated for an Academy Award in the category Best Supporting Actress and, along with Lily Tomlin (who was also nominated in the same category), is often regarded as offering one of the most revealing performances in the film. Barbara Jean, who in some respects appears to have been modeled after Loretta Lynn, is an emotionally unstable and accident-prone character whose success has come at the cost of exhaustion, loneliness, injury, bitter rivalries, exploitation, fickle audiences, obsessed fans, and an overbearing husband-manager who at one point tells her "Don't tell me how to run your life!" In between her character's collapses, nervous breakdowns, hospitalizations and near-death experiences, Blakley performs several of her own songs as Barbara Jean, including "Dues" and "My Idaho Home." The first is a frank admission of a failed and emotionally taxing relationship: one that is made tolerable only by her ability to write the song, and momentarily at that. The latter is a nostalgic depiction of a happy childhood in rural America, which uses many of the elements of agrarian nostalgia common to country songs to highlight Barbara Jean's alienation: this happy childhood was far, far away from Nashville. In a pivotal scene, Barbara Jean triumphantly performs part of her set and then loses focus, rambling about her childhood on stage and clucking like a chicken while the audience turns against her. During the 1970s Ronee performed with artists such as Bob Dylan and Hoyt Axton. She appears as "Mrs. Bob Dylan" in Dylan's 1977 film Renaldo and Clara, which is set during the Rolling Thunder Revue tour of 1975. She is also one of the vocalists on the early electronica Gershon Kingley, First Moog Quartet. Ronee also appeared in A Nightmare on Elm Street and a number of other films during the 1970s and 1980s. Her two albums were released on CD in 2006. In interviews with Richie Unterberger, Blakley announced her intentions to record a new album. Transcripts of these interviews are in the liner notes of her CD albums. Blakley performed at The Mint supperclub in Los Angeles, CA on Friday, September 29, 2006 where she sang some of her old songs and a few new compositions. In July 2007 she appeared together with John Saxon, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss and Robert Englund on the Flashback Weekend in Chicago where she talked about the Nightmare on Elm Street movie.

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet We Blew It
  • Actor
63% Lightning Over Water
  • Actor
  • Director

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