Coal Miner’s Daughter
1980 | Musical | 125 minutes | In English
Loretta Webb was one of eight children born and raised in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. Her father, Ted Webb, was a coal miner The family was dirt-poor. Loretta was 15 when she married Oliver “Doo” Lynn in 1948. She had four children by the time she was 19. They then moved to Washington State where Doo gets a job in the forest industry. Passing the time, Loretta sings in honky-tonks and the local radio station. Norm Burley, the owner of Zero Records, hears Loretta sing on the radio and convinces the couple to come to Los Angeles to cut a demo of one of Loretta’s numbers, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.” Doo now takes Loretta on a promotional tour throughout the South pushing the record with radio disc jockeys. “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” hits the charts and earns Loretta a spot on the Grand Ole Opry. The next few years are frenetic as Loretta becomes a big success. Unfortunately, she has a nervous breakdown from the stress and the constant touring. After a year recovering at her ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, Loretta is ready for her comeback. She’s as good as ever and is now regarded by many as the “First Lady of Country Music.”
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 88%
- Metacritic Score: 87
Academy Awards: Best Actress (Sissy Spacek); Nominated, Best Picture
Golden Globes Awards: Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy); Best Actress (Sissy Spacek)
Sissy Spacek won Best Actress from National Board of Review, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the Kansas City Film Critics Circle.
- In 2019 the film was selected for preservation in the United States Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
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What’s refreshing about COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER is that it takes the basic material (rags to riches, overnight success, the onstage breakdown, and, of course, the big comeback) and relates them in wonderfully human terms. It’s fresh and immediate.
Director Michael Apted has no use for the drab, listless filmmaking typical of most rags-to-riches stories. His movie breathes; it never feels oppressive or dour. Mr. Apted never condescends to his characters. Through his lens Loretta and her husband Doolittle take shape as people, not symbols.
COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER is a thoughtful, endearing film charting the life of singer Loretta Lynn from the depths of poverty in rural Kentucky to her eventual rise to the title of queen of country music. The film mostly avoids the sudsy atmosphere common to many showbiz tales.
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