Jessica Lange and Kim Stanley give remarkable performances in "Frances," but if you are looking for anything resembling the truth about this gifted actress, this is *not* the film to see--in fact, unfortunately, no factual account of Frances' life has yet been presented on either the movie or TV screen, with the possible exception of A&E's excellent Biography episode about her.
The film completely fictionalizes and sensationalizes several aspects of Frances' life, inventing characters out of whole-cloth and completely misrepresenting her institutionalization, including spuriously alleging she was lobotomized. There is ample documentary evidence proving Frances never underwent this horrible procedure; you can read the facts in my web article "Shedding Light on Shadowland," which is linked under the miscellaneous sites section on IMDb's Frances Farmer page (or do a Google for "Shedding Light on Shadowland").
In the recent DVD release, director Graeme Clifford can be heard commenting, in what is surely the understatement of the decade, "We didn't want to be nickel and diming the audience to death with facts." The *real* story of Frances Farmer is far more fascinating than this sad exercise in Hollywood "fictionalizing."
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