(out of 5)

Frances Farmer rose up from a small town existence to become one of Hollywood’s brightest stars in the 1930s. Dissatisfied with the token roles handed out to women at the time, she fought hard to be taken seriously as an actress, pursuing that goal until it drove her past the brink of sanity and into a mental asylum.  There she was analyzed and abused for years before a lobotomy was performed on her in this compelling, probing look at Farmer’s life based on her own writings.   A lot of it actually plays like trashy exploitation except for the mesmerizing performance by , in the role that established her as a serious actress, and  as her ambitious mother, who give the film a great deal more respectability than it deserves (evidence for most of the film’s claims has gone soft in the years since this film’s release).

Brooksfilms, EMI Films

USA, 1982

Directed by

Screenplay by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Award Nominations
Best Actress in a Leading Role (Jessica Lange as “Frances Farmer”)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Kim Stanley as “Lillian Farmer”)

Golden Globe Award Nominations
Best Performance By An Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama (Jessica Lange)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Kim Stanley)


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