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Susan Saint James,
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>
Madness as a result of being haunted by the media because you are honest.
'Frances' is a highly touching reconstruction of the life of fifties actress Frances Farmer, from Seattle. Jessica Lange did a miraculous job in playing Frances, with paranoia in her rolling eyes, which -I must admit- makes her look like a madwoman indeed. The movie shows how someone can be completely destroyed by misunderstandings, enlarged by a ridiculous amount of media attention. The most beautiful part is that, where Frances returns to Seattle, now a star. The people who used to scorn her, are now kissing her butt to gain her sympathy. She stands still in the middle of the hallway, and with all eyes on her she starts to scream they are hypocrites. After that, she is of course again considered crazy, like before. Even when she only wants to be left alone, she is haunted and harassed by those who feel called upon 'helping her'. This, combined with a rather sensitive and unstable character, makes her paranoid and finally leads to her destruction.
I first heard about Frances Farmer through an interview with Kurt Cobain, who admired her courage and was experiencing the same as she had. Courtney got married in one of her dresses and even though their baby wasn't named after her but after a male Frances, they both thought of her later. Cobain also wrote a song about her, 'Frances Farmer will have her revenge on Seattle', which appeared on the second Nirvana studio album 'In Utero'.
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