Frances

Movie Details
type
Movie
Genre
July 11, 1997 at 04:00 AM EDT

Parenthood is the trickiest of crafts. Every hope that one’s children will grow up to be their own true selves is shadowed by the urge to yell, ”Be just like me!” The potter’s clay has a personality: Lay the hands on gently and the resulting vase could turn out to have a strong and unexpected shape. Throw it too hard, and it warps and fractures.

A less compromised Mama Rose can be found in Frances, the story of tormented ’30s movie star Frances Farmer (played by Jessica Lange). There are flaws — the madhouse scenes rub a viewer’s nose in Brueghelian squalor, Sam Shepard’s character is a fictional deus ex machina — but the film is intensely frightening whenever Kim Stanley is on screen as Lillian Farmer, a shallow, mean hypocrite who calls her daughter ”little sister,” is terrified that she’ll walk away from Hollywood, and finally commits her to an institution where she’s lobotomized. Frances does get the mother of all go-to-hell speeches toward the end; unfortunately, it seals her doom. B

Frances

type
Movie
Genre
mpaa
R
runtime
140 minutes
director
Graeme Clifford
Cast
Kim Stanley
Studio
Complete Coverage
Frances

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