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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>
Harry York, a largely fictional character played by Sam Shepard, was based on a political radical named Stewart Jacobson who claimed to have been Frances Farmer's lover. People who were close to Farmer claimed he had never even met her. See more »
A shot of the outside of a New York building shows many modern window air-conditioners, although this was supposed to be the 1930s or 1940s. 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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Jessica Lange gives the performance of a lifetime as iconoclastic actress Frances Farmer, whose rejection of the star system led to her mental collapse and ostracism from her fame-hungry mother Lillian (Kim Stanley). Lange's command of the role makes you feel like there's a knife in your stomach. It's that intense. As for the question of what's accurate and what's not, that's not really important. The point is that Lange gets into this role to the max. "Frances" isn't the sort of movie that you can just watch; you have to feel like it's happening to you, or you might not get the full experience. All in all, a great movie. Also starring Sam Shepard and Jeffrey DeMunn.
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