Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1980. Universal Pictures. Screenplay by Thomas Rickman, based on the autobiography by Loretta Lynn, George Vecsey. Cinematography by Ralf D. Bode. Produced by Bernard Schwartz. Production Design by John W. Corso. Costume Design by Joe I. Tompkins. Film Editing by Arthur Schmidt. Academy Awards 1980. Golden Globe Awards 1980. National Board of Review Awards 1980. New York Film Critics Awards 1980.
Exceptional film biography that is one of the very best films ever made about a musical celebrity. Sissy Spacek is astounding as country singer Loretta Lynn, who grew up in the mountains of Kentucky, got married at thirteen years old to Doolittle Lynn (Tommy Lee Jones) and found herself raising a heap of a family when she was still but a child herself. Doo gifts her a guitar one year and encourages her to go public with her singing, which he loves so much, and before she knows it Loretta is singing with Patsy Cline at the Grand Ole Opry and becoming the shining star of Nashville’s country-western scene. This uncompromising film examines her ups and downs, including the joy of fame as well as the grueling fatigue of the tour circuit, without making any unfair judgments or going for any easy-to-read emotional manipulation. Spacek absolutely rules the screen, but she does get ample support from Jones and a fantastic Beverly D’Angelo as Cline. This was British director Michael Apted’s entrance to Hollywood film, and it remains one of his best efforts.