Film: Coal Miner's Daughter

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Film:

Coal Miner's Daughter

Director: Michael Apted
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Universal Studios

Sissy Spacek won a much-deserved Oscar for her lead in this entertaining biography of country-music legend Loretta Lynn. British director Michael Apted (Gorillas in the Mist) brings fine texture to the Kentucky backwoods section of the film, where the teenage Loretta meets her future husband (Tommy Lee Jones), who ultimately pushes her into show business. Lynn’s adult life is well covered, from her spouse’s philandering to her own on-stage crackups; but between the chapter-and-verse recollections, the script by Thomas Rickman is layered with life and…

Reviews

Amazon.com

Sissy Spacek won a much-deserved Oscar for her lead in this entertaining biography of country-music legend Loretta Lynn. British director Michael Apted (Gorillas in the Mist) brings fine texture to the Kentucky backwoods section of the film, where the teenage Loretta meets her future husband (Tommy Lee Jones), who ultimately pushes her into show business. Lynn’s adult life is well covered, from her spouse’s philandering to her own on-stage crackups; but between the chapter-and-verse recollections, the script by Thomas Rickman is layered with life and moments of great humor. No wooden portrait, this is a vibrant film made outstanding by the colorful performances of the two leads, as well as Beverly D’Angelo and the Band’s Levon Helm. —Tom Keogh

Barnes and Noble

Film biographies can be treacherous ground—especially when the film depicts a legend who remains among the living. Yet director Michael Apted’s dramatically satisfying portrayal of country music queen Loretta Lynn succeeds on every possible level, avoiding TV-movie schmaltz and delivering a totally believable Lynn in Sissy Spacek, who won an Oscar for the role. Based on Lynn’s autobiography, Coal Miner’s Daughter traces the singer’s life from her impoverished Kentucky childhood, to her marriage at age 13 to Dolittle Lynn (Tommy Lee Jones) and subsequent years as a wife and mother, finally charting her rise to music superstardom. Spacek does all her own singing here, and she does Loretta Lynn proud, completely capturing Lynn’s potent combination of naivete and self-assurance. Jones, meanwhile, brings real charm and charisma to his portrayal of Lynn’s brash, exuberant husband. Beverly D’Angelo is also superb as Lynn’s real-life friend and colleague, the equally legendary Patsy Cline. (D’Angelo does her own singing, too.) Levon Helm (drummer for the great ‘60s rock group The Band) doesn’t sing in Coal Miner’s Daughter, but his surprisingly effective portrayal of Lynn’s taciturn father provides the story with a powerful emotional anchor. There’s plenty of music in the film, including a few scenes at the Grand Ole Opry. But whether or not you’re a fan of country music, the remarkable chemistry between Spacek and Jones makes Coal Miner’s Daughter a Hollywood classic not to be missed. Gregory Baird

Related Works

Book:Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter

Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter

Loretta Lynn, George Vecsey

Born in 1935 into abject poverty, married at age thirteen, and a grandmother by age twenty-nine, Loretta Lynn went on to become one of the most prolific and influential singers in modern country music. The first woman to be named the Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, Lynn boasts sixteen #1 singles, fifteen #1 albums, and sixty other hits including “Honky Tonk Girl”, “Before I’m Over You”, “The Pill,” and “After the Fire Is Gone.”

Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner’s Daughter, a bestseller and the basis of the Oscar-winning film, is the intimate, revealing story of her journey from eastern Kentucky to Nashville to stardom to legend—told in her own voice, which rings as clear, natural, and powerful as the best of her songs.

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