Sunday, March 07, 2010

30th Anniversary of Coal Miner's Daughter

Released March 7, 1980 (30 years ago today) is one of my surprisingly favorite films. And certainly my favorite film of the year 1980...the film is Coal Miner's Daughter directed by Michael Apted.

I say surprisingly a favorite, because prior to watching Coal Miner's Daughter, I knew nothing about Loretta Lynn whom the biopic is based, and because I feel like musician bios all seem the same...usually a surprise rise, a fall, and a settling somewhere in the middle.

Not to say that the Loretta Lynn story doesn't have those same characteristics, but I think the character of Loretta Lynn is different because there is this strange yin and yang of a weak submissive woman and a strong take on the world woman all wrapped up in one person. Not only that but Sissy Spacek captures this magic wonderfully, particularly playing a character over a variety of ages.

Sissy Spacek deserves her Oscar win for this role. And while this film was nominated for many other Academy Awards, I think retrospectively, it might have deserved some additional wins.

In addition to Spacek's tremendously captivating performance, I think Tommy Lee Jones makes this movie a success as well. His character is stressful, tense, and emotional. The way his character is written carries the same strength/weakness balance of Spacek's character and so he responds in just the dramatic way at every turn to make for an interesting story. One that is supporting, frustrating, and intense.

So while you have music in the story, you also have the story of a couple, both of them too young for what they are taking on and struggling as they change.

I'm glad I watched this film, and as it celebrates the 30th anniversary of it's release I say happy anniversary, I hope that people continue to watch this movie. I think it is a great film.

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