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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>
For this movie and Tootsie (1982), actress Jessica Lange received two Oscar nominations for acting in the same year. It was the first time since 1942 that an actress had been nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress in the same year and the third time overall. Frances (1982) was Lange's first Best Actress Academy Award nomination but she won that year only for Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Tootsie (1982). Ironically, in Frances (1982), at one point in the film, her character is named a "little tootsie" by another character. Lange would eventually win a Best Actress Oscar for Blue Sky (1994). See more »
Among the framed portraits of actresses under contract to Paramount Pictures hanging on Mr. Bebe's office walls is one of Joan Crawford. But Crawford was an MGM contract player at the time portrayed in the scene and never worked for Paramount. See more »
When you get well, you're going to thank me.
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.
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I watched Frances because I seemed to remember that Kevin Costner had a tiny part at the start of his career and I'm a big fan. I didn't expect necessarily to see anything startling other than what it said on the tin, a film about the real life movie star from the 40's, Frances Farmer, as played by Jessica Lange. I've always admired Jessica Lange as a really good actress but she's never blown me away like some stars do. At least, not until now. Now watching this 1982 movie in 2014 (a bit late, I know), she's completely reversed my previous thoughts about her. Her performance in this picture has to be one of the most dynamic, hypnotic acting stints I've ever seen by an actress. It reminded me a bit of Faye Dunaway in Network (where she won the Oscar). Looking this movie up I saw that Jessica was beaten in 1982 by Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice, but if ever an actress was robbed of the Oscar, this performance was it. I'd urge anyone who loves acting at the highest level to watch this movie, just for Jessica Lange's performance, although there is also a very strong backup show by Kim Stanley as her mother. Very long at two and half hours, but I couldn't take my eyes off Jessica Lange's face. It's hard to detect between when she's being charming and when she might suddenly explode. Mesmerizing.
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