Loretta Lynn: Honky Tonk Girl

The trouble with making a video biography like Honky Tonk Girl, of country queen Loretta Lynn is that her story is already so well known. Her 1976 autobiography, Coal Miner’s Daughter, was a best-seller, and the 1980 feature film of the same title was a big hit, retracing Lynn’s steps through dire poverty, initial success, major stardom, nervous breakdown, and staunch survivorship. Any authorized video biography has to cover much of the same territory. But it should also bring in new information — or tell the old story in a fresh way — to be of value. Too bad director Mark Hall doesn’t offer much that’s new. There is no mention of Lynn’s failed attempt to make ”contemporary” country music in the ’80s, for example, nor of the ’84 drowning of her son, Jack Benny Lynn, and how that altered her life. Instead, Hall drags in a bevy of talking heads (Minnie Pearl, Patty Loveless, Waylon Jennings) who add little to the well-known facts of Lynn’s life. But Lynn is such an enchanting presence that she can recount the familiar tales with the eagerness of first-time telling. That makes this an affectionate, if hardly revelatory, hour of viewing. B-

Loretta Lynn: Honky Tonk Girl
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