Coal Miner’s Daughter

(Michael Apted, USA, 1980)


The rags-to-riches story of many musical biographies has become a corny cliché – particularly when the rags are so clean, deprivation seems so sunny, and subsequent upward mobility occurs so quickly and easily.

British director Michael Apted gives to this affecting account of Loretta Lynn’s life what Alan Parker gave to The Commitments (1991) – a grittier, harsher view of the singer’s humble beginnings, and a real sense of the problems involved in clawing towards even a moment of stardom.

But this is a far more touching film than Parker’s. It has the same, plaintive effect of the music it portrays so well.

The cast (including Sissy Spacek as Lynn, Tommy Lee Jones and Beverly D’Angelo) is uniformly excellent.

MORE Apted: Continental Divide, Critical Condition, Enough, Extreme Measures, Incident at Oglala, Nell, 35 Up

© Adrian Martin December 1992

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
home    reviews    essays    search