Rare to the memory is a film like Frances which runs 140 minutes and its star is on the screen 85% of the time in one intense scene after another. It's quite an accomplishment for Jessica Lange and it's too bad a better film didn't come of it.
Rare to the memory is a film like Frances which runs 140 minutes and its star is on the screen 85% of the time in one intense scene after another. It’s quite an accomplishment for Jessica Lange and it’s too bad a better film didn’t come of it.
Though her troubled life made headlines around the world, Frances Farmer is still much a mystery. What is agreed is that Farmer was a rebellious young girl in Seattle who first shocked the 1930s with a high-school essay questioning God, then outraged conservatives again a few years later with a visit to Moscow. The publicity, plus her talent, led to a successful Broadway and Hollywood career, followed by some kind of a breakdown and many years in mental institutions.
Resolving the doubts that haunt Farmer’s life, the film presents her basically as a woman to be admired for standing behind her convictions regardless of the consequences.
As a directorial debut by editor Graeme Clifford, however, Frances tends to trivialize. It’s hard to shake the persistent feeling that she brought a lot of woe on herself.
1982: Nominations: Best Actress (Jessica Lange), Supp. Actress (Kim Stanley)