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Frances Farmer, a precocious Seattle teenager, takes unpopular social and political positions, to the mixed reactions of her parents. Frances becomes an actress and has some strong success in New York, but her refusal to bend her convictions and her outspoken (but sometimes naive) political expressiveness cause her difficulties, especially after she accepts a Hollywood contract. Torn between new-found success and intense feelings that she does not deserve the riches and fame she gains from the phoniness of Hollywood, Frances butts heads with studio executives and with her own mother, who revels in Frances's fame but provides Frances no emotional support. When drunken fights and arrests derail her career, Frances is sent to a psychiatric hospital with the acquiescence of her mother. What follows is a nightmare of poor treatment and psychological trauma, augmented by the increasing determination of Frances's mother to control her daughter's life. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
When you see a glamorous movie star on the silver screen, you immediately picture them having a glamorous life with no flaws or problems whatsoever. The film "Frances" proves that that is definitely not true.
Jessica Lange is excellent as Frances Farmer, the movie star from the 1930s who constantly wants to live life her own way. She becomes a big star until all the weight of being a star (publicity, bossy agents, the media) falls down hard on her, causing her to have a nervous breakdown. Eventually, she is wrongfully declared criminally insane and thrown into a mental institution.
The movie is glitzy and glamourous at one point, and turns disturbing and realistically gritty at the next. Lange gives her best performance here, which was nominated for an Oscar. In the end we realize that she wasn't crazy, she was just trying to be herself. It makes the viewer sympathize with movie stars, for the stuff they have to be put through. A fascinating movie.
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