Frances - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Frances Reviews

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January 2, 2018
Frances is a 1982 film about the life of Frances Farmer, whose domineering mother interfered with her life to a crippling degree.
½ November 9, 2017
Eh. Jessica Lange does an amazing job in portraying a fleshed out Frances Farmer but unfortunately she's fighting against the director here. Frances' story is told at arms length and for some baffling reason through Sam Shepard's character (also well acted but) who unfortunately adds nothing except male gaze / narration (and nice 80s hair). Pretty much the only time the audience is left alone with Frances is when the movie wants to highlight her suffering. Unfortunately it never actually portrays any insight into her inner life or the true roots of her problems... Sure, it hints at it. Its THERE... sorta. But they lose their way half way through the film and nothing is ever explicitly hammered home (except when it's about making her mother off as an evil bitch).

The whole thing just put a bad taste in my mouth unfortunately. Which isn't to say its BAD, it's not-a mixture of good acting and some excellent cinematography keep it going. But could this have been a deeper, more insightful and more emotionally powerful film had they swapped out the director with somebody who wanted to tell a story of female suffering at the hands of society? Easily.
August 12, 2016
Powerful performance. Terrifying tale. I wonder how lucky the unruly youth of Hollywood would feel if this is how they would be treated.
½ May 27, 2016
Self-destructive people -- don't you love 'em? In life and in movies, they frustrate us as we helplessly watch them throw away everything most of us would value. Jessica Lange is challenged with giving us some sort of understanding as to why the all-but-forgotten minor actress Frances Farmer chose to have a miserable life instead of a happy one. It's not clear what her problem is -- an overbearing mother? Hollywood? Liquor? Frances is pretentious in her aspirations and apparently hates stardom on Broadway and in Hollywood (she's better than that!). She also seems to hate the world at large, and treats decent people with contempt, so it's difficult to feel too much sympathy as she goes through the stages of career suicide and a complete breakdown. This is the film that showed us all that Jessica Lang could act, and all the performances by the entire cast are excellent. There are mad scenes galore, and a made- up love interest played by Sam Shepard. As these two characters plot various unlikely escapes from various mental institutions, they never seem bright enough to figure out that the best was to get out of a mental institution is to act sane, which Frances can't seem to pull off. She eventually gets the icepick and dwindles into sedated obscurity, a sad tale that perhaps had to be told.
August 18, 2015
I've always been fascinated with the tragic story of Frances Farmer, a woman so ahead of her time. Jessica Lange was brilliant (and a beautiful woman too). If Meryl Streep wasn't her competition at the Oscars that year with 'Sophie's Choice', she would have for sure gotten it. Extremely disappointed with the movie. Adding a fictional character like Harry York was lame and unnecessary and a lot of interesting facts about her life and her reasonings for what she did was missing. Highly recommend you check out the A&E biography of her life. This was a good bio flick, but it could have been SO much better.
June 26, 2015
Harrowing (and largely fictionalized) account of the life of actress Frances Farmer. The board strokes of her life are here, her meteoric rise as a young Hollywood actress and her decent into alcoholism and mental illness, with subsequent multiple commitments to mental institutions. On the surface, this film feels like a cheesy Lifetime channel biopic, but Jessica Lange gives such an amazing performance as Farmer that it elevates what I consider rather trite material. Lange takes a character who could easily have been unlikable or have simply been a 1930s version of Lindsay Lohan, but her portrayal of Farmer is very sympathetic and at the same time very troubling. Overall, the story seemed rather sensationalized and simply an avalanche of misery heaped upon Ms. Farmer, but Lange gives such a strong and compelling performance, that she makes this film something of a classic.
½ June 14, 2014
Curious psychological portrait which Jessica Lange delivered marvelously. quite hysterical, difficult, yet passionate, rebelious.
½ May 25, 2014
A bit long and incorrect with some key facts, this movie could be titled "Trust no one, especially your mother." All in all a solid film, although its cynicism can be cringe inducing at times.
½ May 19, 2014
Amazing performances from Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard.
½ February 21, 2014
Biopic of troubled actress Frances Farmer presenting Jessica Lange with a role she can really play with zest. Lange won the supporting actress Oscar in 1982 for Tootsie, but part of me thinks that was a sympathy vote for losing out on best leading actress for this.
December 15, 2013
well crafted n acted bio-pic about frances famer
November 2, 2013
This film is everything Lena Duhnam wants to say but grew up too privellaged to understand.

It's funny that the two of people with the biggest influence on me as a writer have put out possibly their best movies in the same year (Before Midnight being the other).

Frances Ha defines bittersweet (&) poignancy. It blows my mind that in 1994 Noah made the film (Kicking and Screaming) that defined Generation X (and served a the catalyst for the path I have chosen). And now, 20+ years later he's made the film that defines my generation and the post-collegiate experience that most of us that weren't born with rich parents have suffered through.
½ September 1, 2013
Lillian Farmer: When you get well, you're going to thank me.
Frances Farmer: No, you are not talking now! You listen. Now you can send me away and pretend I'm crazy and you can pretend I'm still your little girl who can't take care of herself. But Lillian, there is one thing that you cannot pretend any more and that is that I love you. Because I don't. I can't. Not after what you've done to me. Because I am still me. I've been trying real hard all this time to be me. And you, little sister - you haven't been any help at all.

Una pieza biográfica sobre la actriz Francis Farmer, que empieza desde su adolescencia donde era una joven rebelde con ideas radicales, a su ascenso a la fama que trajo con ello no solo reconocimiento y éxito sino también demonios y un dramático final a lo que pudo ser una carrera longeva en Hollywood. No se que tan fiel es este retrato a lo que tuvo que afrontar Farmer, pero es bastante crudo y dramático, pero llevado de manera magistral por Jessica Lange, ya que lo interpreta de manera sutil al principio y de acuerdo a las circunstancias se adapta pero nunca pasa la linea de lo vulgar. En partes me pareció una novela en vez de una película, y eso le quito puntos.
Super Reviewer
August 28, 2013
Jessica Lange is really terrific as Frances Farmer. Hers is a story that I was not familiar with and was glad to have known about it afterwards. A true rebel with heart.
August 28, 2013
Jessica Lange is simply fabulous!!
½ August 10, 2013
1982 is such a competitive year for actresses, most prominently is Meryl Streep's critics-consensus "the all-time best female performance" and Oscar-crowning SOPHIE'S CHOICE (1982), which shamefully I haven't watched yet. Thus unfairly other contenders didn't stand any chance to beat her for that, but I never doubt that it was a nip-and-tuck between Streep and Lange in her tour-de-force sensation FRANCES.

Frances Farmer is hardly a household name among film boffins, she was a shooting star in the Tinseltown, whose defiant nature is destined for hemming herself as a fair game to the studio persecution, and the inhuman therapeutic treatments she receives in the mental hospitals are fierce indictment of our society's callous depersonalization under the aegis of medical remedy, although whether the lobotomy operation was executed still lacks of conviction.

Farmer exhibits her rebelliousness from the very start with her religion-defying speech "god was gone" when she was simply a high-schooler, a fearless doll under the high-handedness of her control freak mother (Stanley), Lange's rendition is begging description, an almost 30 years age-range and 140-minutes running time thoroughly proffers her an once-in-a-lifetime stretch to embody herself into this anguished persona, she minutely delineates how the life-force has been mercilessly ripped off her inch by inch and a belated and vehement face-off with her mother is the most theatrical moment and is the apotheosis of a heart-wrenching vicariousness, bravo to both Lange and Stanley!

Henry York (Shepard), a fictional character as the only man who truly understands Farmer and loves her unconditionally is the narrator, this concoction is a poetic license to add some solace in Farmer's wretched life and a considerable move for its audiences' sake, but meanwhile it barely serves a slush albeit Shepard and Lange work wonder together, the make-believe default also makes no room to expound why those two lovers could not be together, an over-romanticized tone may counteract the despondency of the film but it is also an untimely reminder of how close itself could be as brave as its leading lady Jessica Lange!
June 16, 2013
4/5 --- A daring [based on the] true story of Frances Farmer, growing up and being pushed into Hollywood's glamorous lights by her forceful mother...A tragic emotional tale that makes me glad I'm not famous.

Jessica Lange is superb in this role, vulnerable with fighting's an encompassing story about what/how/why Hollywood molds you, breaks you and buries you whenever it wants. Powerful lesson. Alot of the scenes reminded me of "Mommie Dearest", very kind of shocking scenes and things said.

"I wondered a little why God was such a useless thing. It seemed a waste of time to have him. After that he became less and less, until he was...nothingness."
March 5, 2013
A fine bio-pic on Frances Farmer, that only occasionally veers into melodrama.
½ February 27, 2013
Heralded by an incredible performance from Jessica Lange, the film really makes us feel.
January 15, 2013
Excellent movie and great actress
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