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Frances is a 1982 film about the life of Frances Farmer, whose domineering mother interfered with her life to a crippling degree.
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.
Powerful performance. Terrifying tale. I wonder how lucky the unruly youth of Hollywood would feel if this is how they would be treated.
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.
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.
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.
Curious psychological portrait which Jessica Lange delivered marvelously. quite hysterical, difficult, yet passionate, rebelious.
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.
Amazing performances from Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard.
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.