(541)7.32 h 19 min1982X-RayR
Jessica Lange stars in her Oscar-nominated performance of the true story of Frances Farmer's meteoric rise to fame in Hollywood and the tragic turn her life took when she was blacklisted.
Graeme Clifford
Jessica LangeSam ShepardKim Stanley
English [CC]
Audio languages

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Supporting actors
Darrell LarsonWoodrow ParfreyJack Riley
Jonathan Sanger
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Drug usefoul languagenuditysexual contentviolence
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4.6 out of 5 stars

541 global ratings

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  2. 13% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 8% of reviews have 3 stars
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BooksalottleReviewed in the United States on October 26, 2017
5.0 out of 5 starsSuperb Acting; Jessica Lange is a Billowing Force
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I am a huge fan of classic films from Hollywood's Golden Era and I am intrigued by the stars who starred in them. I’ve known about the film 'Frances' for years but only now lucky to get the opportunity to watch it with Prime offering it.

This film, about the tragic turning point of 1930s actress Frances Farmer isn’t groundbreaking in of itself. It chronicles her life from rebellious teenager in a small, uptight town, to disobedient actress who will not bow to Hollywood's star machine mentality of "chew 'em up, spit 'em out." The film hits all the standard points and flows swimmingly without major missteps. What makes the film exceptional however, is the feverish and heart-breaking performance given by actress Jessica Lange. Wow!!

Ms. Lange is a billowing force, with highly charged, impassioned range of emotions that gets you in the pit of your stomach as you watch. In her performance from the first scene till the last, I could sense the character's seething angst, as if always irate about something but not knowing how to fix it in order to feel better. It's like observing a pot of water on a slow simmer with ever increasing heat. As the temperature rises, the water's bubbles get bigger and more volatile, smashing against each other with dynamic fervency - eventually bursting out with scalding steam in a hundred different directions.

One can't help but think that the real Frances Farmer was a victim of her time and her surroundings, misunderstood and mistreated because she refused to play along to anyone's song & dance. Of course, the film eludes to her deep rooted, underlying mental instabilities, but had she received proper care, guidance and support, her outcome may have been different, less tumultuous. Actress Jessica Lange does a superb job bringing her to life and the film is five stars because of her performance alone. Very surprised she did not win the best actress Oscar for her performance in this film. Highly recommended, especially for classic move lovers.
26 people found this helpful
Maui DougReviewed in the United States on October 18, 2019
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This movie plunges the depths of despair generated by a society that insists on conformity. Never mind Communist, Nazi, Liberal or Conservative. It's all the same, shallow cretins grasping at straws looking to live their dreams through others vicariously and symbiotically. Jessica Lang was superb for the part. She is beautiful as an older woman now, I had no idea of her celestial beauty as a young woman. She was perfect for this role and played it exquisitely.

I knew people even in the 1970's that still underwent the barbarism of electroshock therapy, one friend finally committed suicide before he could be institutionalized again. My favorite poet, song writer and musician, Townes Van Zant, went through insulin shock therapy at college age, which "knowing" doctors were sure was an effective "cure", it totally wiped out most of memory and gave him a gift for connecting with reality like few before or sense. Allopaths may be more "hygienic" now, but beneath the veneer of "professionalism" lurk gentrified witch doctors that for the most part still refuse to look outside their own narrow training to investigate collateral sciences and they promote Big Pharma's cures nearly exclusively because most of their post medical school training is sponsored, and wined and dined at conferences, etc, by Big Pharma which has a vested interested in maintaining people in as long a state of chronic illness as possible and dependent upon expensive drugs that they manufacture. Americans pay a lot more for Big Pharmas products than citizens of any other country because the pharmaceutical industry's lobbyists back so many campaigns for national office and retiring, rejected politicians and government FDA, etc dignitaries get cushy revolving door jobs for having helped the bastards rape our country.

On average, the lowest GPA's in medical schools become psychiatrists and Frances Farmer's incarcerations by MD "psychiatric experts" has since advanced to incarceration and incapacitation of the general population of the US by making citizens totally dependent on drugs, most of them with severely debilitating side effects. There are many more effective results being obtained, and often quickly, from nutritional research, Chiropractic and Naturopathic specialties. For instance, a 2013 release of research by an English MD, taking a clue from Bariatric surgery (limiting stomach size in morbidly obese patients, most of whom were severely Type 2 Diabetic) patients that recovered from Type 2 Diabetes in as little as 6 weeks, concluded that the cause was fatty liver which signaled the pancreas to stop sending it more insulin because that was converting excess carbohydrates into more liver fat. Thus "insulin resistance" is not the cause of Type 2 Diabetes, the overly fat liver from refined carbohydrates is. People having been on insulin for years, would get off of it within 6 months at most! And shed a lot of weight, healthily, in the process and regain health, simply by eliminating refined carbs and increasing vegetables and salads dramatically. These results were released in the Journal of the American Diabetic Association. Most MD's still treat Type 2 Diabetes as, "Once diabetic, always diabetic!" Nose to the grindstone, they simply ignore the research and successful treatments from other countries!

Most Allopaths (MD's) keep us enslaved to drugs and will keep adding them as they treat symptoms without determining real causes. Other sciences have discovered miraculous stuff, but MD's don't want to now for the most part, believing that if it worked, Big Pharma would embrace it!

We now have a society that disdains limits and yet most citizens are less free, less creative, and more into conforming than ever to the narrow niches that post modernism places people into, everyone being a defined minority of some sort. Frances Farmer's problem was that she fit nobody's "picture" of the way it should be. Paradoxically, we now have too many pictures for people to fit into, and all are just as much a trap as were society's expectations for Ms Farmer's.
11 people found this helpful
3mistyriversReviewed in the United States on November 12, 2017
3.0 out of 5 starsNot to be taken literally
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Jessica Lange leads with a mesmerizing performance.

A lot of reviewers have indicated this biopic is not based on facts. I argue not to take the film (or book that it is based on) too literally, because overall it catches the essence of Famer's disfunction and her antagonism to authority. In a way it doesn't really matter if all the facts conform to truth. The lobotomy may have happened, and she was treated inhumanely, and in fact locked up for 5 years during her prime of life.

The key to Farmer's disfunction may have been an unhealthy relationship with her mother. For whatever reason, she kept gravitating back to her birth family, who were instrumental in the disastrous course of her life and mental health treatments.
Too bad she didn't just stay away from them, and forge her own path regardless.
16 people found this helpful
C. Alfred SantilloReviewed in the United States on February 6, 2017
5.0 out of 5 starsIf any viewer can sit andwatch "Frances" without a sense of overwhelming anger building way ...
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If any viewer can sit and watch "Frances" without a sense of overwhelming anger building way down at the bottom of his or her stomach, while simultaneously feeling tears threatening to overflow his/her eyes and then running down the cheeks, one would have to be made of stone. That is my humble opinion, of course, based upon my reactions while viewing this film. To say that Jessica Lange's performance is stunning would truly be an understatement. It seems there is no end to Hollywood's fickle choice of stars who "make it big", and most of the more discerning viewing public would have to ask, "Why?" when considering many of these choices. Jessica Lange certainly falls into this mysterious category together with many others. It is difficult to believe the cruelty and callousness [perhaps sadistic inclinations would be a more precise description] of Frances Farmer's mother, portrayed with exceptional talent by Kim Stanley.
I believe this is one of those films that, once seen, is very very difficult to erase from one's mind. "Frances" is also a film which you must choose "To Watch or Not To Watch." And, having sat through this brilliantly crafted, but terribly grim piece of cinematography [made all the more gruesome because it depicts events experienced by Frances Farmer, a real person], it would take some very powerful persuading to cajole me into viewing this film one more time.
12 people found this helpful
mositaReviewed in the United States on November 3, 2019
2.0 out of 5 starsShe Should have chosen another profession!
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This movie, first of all, isn't true as depicted as several books written about Frances Farmer have been discredited (one being used for this particular story); secondly, the character of Ms Farmer as portrayed by Ms Lange comes across to me, at least, as an arrogant, spoiled, ill tempered, rude and totally unpleasant person. She had constant violent encounters with authorities: did not respect authority as depicted in this movie. All in all, this lady should have chosen a less stressful profession where there were so many rules: She evidently, as depicted in this story, had a problem with rules. Too much screaming, too many tantrums, too much drama, too much histrionics: I was glad when it ended. I watched it out of curiosity! Oh well, live and learn.
3 people found this helpful
SharpReviewed in the United States on December 10, 2017
5.0 out of 5 starsFrances Farmer
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A monumental performance by Jessica Lange in her portrayal of Frances Farmer, movie star, of another time. Talented, she was, according to this film, to have been mistreated and hospitalized for many years of her young years. Mistreatment leads us to believe that she's a woman insane & given lobotomys to make her gentle & without creative thoughts. I had never been familar with her work as an actress, but I conclude from this film & Lange's fine performance that Frances was normal until being hospitalized. She was forced into her condition and this is heartbreaking & real. Accolades for Sam Shepherd & his portrayal as her only friend.
4 people found this helpful
neognomicReviewed in the United States on November 13, 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars4.5
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A powerful and sad movie. Embellishments by producers, director and script writers were not necessary to establish the grave injustices done to Ms. Farmer or her self-absorption, at least not for me. Today, I doubt if the things she did would even make the tabloids.
After watching this I am shocked that Jessica Lange did not receive the Best Actress Oscar for her performance. It was/is outstanding. Meryl Streep in "Sophie's Choice" must be one heck of a performance since she got the Oscar. Or maybe it was just too much for hollywoodies to give Ms. Lange both Best Actress and Best Supporting(for "Tootsie") in the same year(1983).
Now, I must watch 'Choice' ... thanks to Amazon Prime, I can stream it and make a comparison.
8 people found this helpful
DetectorReviewed in the United States on October 31, 2019
5.0 out of 5 starsMuch more than a biopic, its a horrifying indictment of the Psychiatric State.
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Horrendous chronicle of the abuses of the psychiatric state in mid-century America. Difficult to watch, it's like a descent into Dante's Inferno, only the levels of punishment are far more horrific than Satan, or Dante, could ever have imagined. Frances Farmer continued to fall further and further into the belly of the beast, into more and more drastic treatments enforced by the psychiatric state bent on taming her non-conforming "condition." Here is psychiatric pseudo-science, the "mental health" industrial complex at its worst, exceeded in cruelty and perversity perhaps only by the Nazi doctor's who gassed the mentally "ill" or "handicapped", and did medical "research" torturing children in the extermination camps. It is difficult to sit through this film. The majority of victims were women, though anyone could, in one bad day, fall afoul of the psychiatric state. The truth is, some of these abuses continue today, including electro-shock "therapy." The Amazon blurb about the film is true but misleading, in that Frances Farmer's story is not just about being blackballed by Hollywood for misbehavior, but is really an illumination of America's chilling history in enforcing "mental health" on the population. And Jessica Lange is fantastic in this.
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