A very fine biographical drama, Silkwood concerns Karen Silkwood, a nuclear materials factory worker who mysteriously died just before she was going to blow the whistle on her company’s presumed slipshod methods and cover-ups.
A lowdown, spunky and seemingly uneducated Southern gal whose three kids live elsewhere with their father, Silkwood works long hours at a tedious job which presents the constant threat of radiation contamination.
Her home life is rather more unconventional, as she shares a rundown abode with two coworkers, b.f. Kurt Russell and a lesbian friend, Cher.
The complexion of their domestic life takes a turn when blonde cowgirl beautician Diana Scarwid moves in with Cher, and at work, Silkwood finds herself increasingly at odds with management after she becomes involved with a union committee fighting decertification of the union at the plant.
Silkwood’s death in 1974 was officially ruled an accident, but the story became a cause celebre in the media and among anti-nuke proponents.
1983: Nominations: Best Director, Actress (Meryl Streep), Supp. Actress (Cher), Original Screenplay, Editing