Frances (1982)

Jessica Lange, Kim Stanley, Sam Shepard, Bart Burns,
Frances is a movie starring Jessica Lange, Sam Shepard, and Kim Stanley. The story of Frances Farmer's meteoric rise to fame in Hollywood and the tragic turn her life took when she was blacklisted.
  • 7.3 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Eric Bergren, Christopher De Vore, Nicholas Kazan, Writer:
  • Graeme Clifford, Director:
  • Jonathan Sanger, Producer:
8 / 10

Two Giants Play Mother And Daughter

The spectacular 8 hour limited series "Feud" made me revisit many of Jessica Lange's movies. Her performance is of such perfection that it reminded me how extraordinary she has always been. "Frances" is a shock to the system, unflinchingly so. The beautiful, sad, Francs Farmer in all its contradictions. Jessica Lange is absolutely mesmerizing. The movie suffers from what most biopics suffer from, A chronological succession of events and in the case of Frances Farmer, from bad the worse to much, much worse. The movie will drain you but the performance will keep you alert, alive, transfixed. There is more, Kim Stanley as Frances mother. An acting giant with very few film credits to her name. That alone makes "Frances" a collector's item.

10 / 10

Jessica Lange is Spectacular as Frances Farmer

I hadn't really remembered who Frances Farmer was until this poignant film was made. This is a rags to riches to insanity true story of Farmer's life. Lange is supported by Kim Stanley who plays Frances' mother Lillian (both were nominated for a 1983 Academy Award!) and Sam Shepard, who plays Harry York. Frances Farmer was ahead of her time in the ways she opinionated herself and the outspokenness with which she lived her life. Treated very badly by the same studio system that made her a star and her own mother's betrayal, Frances' descent into madness and Lange's impeccable acting makes this movie a must to see and, perhaps, own.

10 / 10

Wonderful performance from female star, a sad romance

This is an important film, and I am compelled to write a few lines to attract other viewers to see it. Sensitive music by John Barry to set the mood, yes it is a love story really, I enjoyed seeing Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard, they work well together. What can you say about the talent of Jessica Lange? I could not take my eyes off her. Impeccable acting. She is so stunningly lovely,as was the Frances Farmer of the story, they are much alike both breathtakingly beautiful. No other actress could have played this part in 1982. A non conformist ahead of her time, today Frances would be almost normal, the Frances Farmer story is sad and infuriating,such a waste... the child pressured by her mother to be everything the mother wanted for herself, to be a Hollywood star, the ineffectual father who could have stepped in to determine a less shattering future for their daughter. How often do we see that the wrong kind of parental influence on their children can lead to disastrous results? I found Frances courageous and admirable in the face of evil and adversity. The sadness felt by the wonderfully supportive Harry York (played by Sam Shepard) toward the end of the movie brings tears to the eyes, she has forgotten how to love, but she has survived... only to die alone in 1970. Breaks my heart. True to life, caring and detailed movie. Best actress for Jessica Lange, in my view, I noticed her in King Kong and I knew she was going to make it big. Highest marks and comments from malcotoro, Toronto, Canada

7 / 10

Nature or Nurture

This film parallels the Biography Channel's version of Frances Farmer's life and career. Neither gave a definitive answer as to the cause of this actress' problems.

Was it inability to cope with society due to her own high standards of artistic integrity? Or was it a mental flaw that grew more intense as she got older? It was James Jones (in "From Here to Eternity") that wrote: "Maybe in the days of the pioneer, you could go your own way. Pvt. Pruitt, but today you gotta play ball." That obviously implied demonstrating things like compromise, humility, condescension, flexibility, and sundry social graces.

It also implied that one can "be right" and still be very lonely.

Frances apparently chose the wrong profession, if she expected to "be right" so often. She'd have been better off on a farm or ranch, engaged in solo activities rather than the group endeavor of acting.

As it was, she seemed never to have learned to work professionally with colleagues. From her standpoint, she was indeed "right." She constantly exposed the hypocrisy, insincerity and frailty in people and "the system." Yet the price she paid was a loss of what mattered to her: a career that was nourishing and satisfying.

In '82 Jessica Lange followed up her fine Oscar-winning performance as Julie Nichols in "Tootsie" with this incredible portrayal of Farmer in "Frances." The legendary Kim Stanley was her mother and Sam Shepard rendered a perceptive performance as Farmer's close friend.

Not an easy film to sit through, the quality of acting by this trio is exemplary. As much up to date today as when first filmed. Riveting performances by all. --harry-76

9 / 10

Madness as a result of being haunted by the media because you are honest.

'Frances' is a highly touching reconstruction of the life of fifties actress Frances Farmer, from Seattle. Jessica Lange did a miraculous job in playing Frances, with paranoia in her rolling eyes, which -I must admit- makes her look like a madwoman indeed. The movie shows how someone can be completely destroyed by misunderstandings, enlarged by a ridiculous amount of media attention. The most beautiful part is that, where Frances returns to Seattle, now a star. The people who used to scorn her, are now kissing her butt to gain her sympathy. She stands still in the middle of the hallway, and with all eyes on her she starts to scream they are hypocrites. After that, she is of course again considered crazy, like before. Even when she only wants to be left alone, she is haunted and harassed by those who feel called upon 'helping her'. This, combined with a rather sensitive and unstable character, makes her paranoid and finally leads to her destruction.

I first heard about Frances Farmer through an interview with Kurt Cobain, who admired her courage and was experiencing the same as she had. Courtney got married in one of her dresses and even though their baby wasn't named after her but after a male Frances, they both thought of her later. Cobain also wrote a song about her, 'Frances Farmer will have her revenge on Seattle', which appeared on the second Nirvana studio album 'In Utero'.