on January 27, 2004
Some movies are so excellent that words are insufficient to describe that excellence. Such is the case with "Coal Miner's Daughter," a movie that relies on an effectively told story of Loretta Lynn to carry the film rather than flashy special effects and action. The script is brought to life by the incredible talents of the actors, most especially Sissy Spacek, in one of the best performances of her career.
"Coal Miner's Daughter" spans the era from the late 1940s to the early 70s, focusing principally on Loretta Lynn from age 13 to her rise to fame as the best-selling female country artist. It's easy to look at Loretta's early life as an artifact of some ancient time, but in fact Loretta's life and the life of her family was quite typical in some rural areas in The United States in that era, and many of us are the children or grandchildren of similar families. This movie is thus not only the story Loretta Lynn, but is also the story of many Americans.
Sissy Spacek sang all the songs for the movie, which is available on CD. Sissy received an Oscar for Best Actress for her role as Loretta Lynn, the only Oscar awarded to the film of the seven nominations. Sissy sounds so incredibly like Loretta Lynn that sometimes I find it difficult to know whether a Loretta Lynn CD or the movie soundtrack is playing. Sissy's phenomenal acting talent made her Loretta Lynn.
Sissy was well supported in her role by other excellent talents. The multi-talented Tommy Lee Jones played the part of Loretta's philandering husband Mooney Dolittle. Tommy Lee played the role very well within the limits of the screenplay. My only complaint is that I felt that Mooney was portrayed in a much milder way than his actual personality. I believe most viewers will perceive traits in Tommy Lee's character that are indications of the real Mooney.
Beverly D'Angelo is outstanding as brash and outgoing Patsy Cline, for a time Loretta's idol, best friend and mentor in the country music world. Patsy had a lot of influence on how naïve Loretta perceived the world and how she reacted to things. Beverly sang Patsy's songs and matched Sissy in the quality of her performance.
Also appearing in this movie were Levon Helm and Phyllis Boyens as Loretta's parents. I read that Loretta was shocked by the appearance of Levon Helm in his makeup and clothes because he looked so much like her father. This couple in role could have easily been the models for the picture "American Gothic." Another appearance worthy of note was that of Earnest Tubb as himself.
Loretta Lynn's story is such a grand story because she exemplifies the dream we all have of making our way in the world. Loretta's father was, as the title suggests, a coal miner. Coal mining is a difficult, dirty job with a lot of risk. During the time of Loretta's youth coal miners would typically get their paycheck and then go to the company store to buy food and pay their debt. In many ways working for a mine in those times was nearly like slavery or indentured servitude. Mooney and Loretta escape by first traveling to the west coast, and ultimately by capitalizing on Loretta's abilities as a singer and songwriter. Ultimately Loretta became a multi-millionaire with a wide range of business interests. This movie presents a rags-to-riches story to inspire us all.
on May 31, 2004
I remember being 10 years old and seeing this movie in the theater. Every time it came on TV I watched it. When we got a VCR, I retaped it every time it played just to have a fresh copy. I owned the VHS and now FINALLY after all these years, I have it on DVD.
This is one of the best movies ever made. The acting was so real it was amazing. I never thought of the characters as Sissy and Tommy Lee, I always thought of them as Loretta and Doo. It's one of the string of "Biography" movies to come out, like La Bamba, Sweet Dreams and The Buddy Holly Story.
The music. 'nuff said! The performances are just incredible. The old Grand Ole Opry gang was still alive and they were in the picture such as Ernest Tubb, Minnie Pearl, & Roy Acuff. Of course, Loretta... I mean Sissy's performances were stellar. In the DVD bonus interview with Loretta, she said that she taught Sissy how to play and sing her songs. And boy did she do a good job! All the way from the nervous but cute Loretta in the honky tonk singing "There He Goes" to the lovely queen of country music singing "Coal Miner's Daughter", the sound of her voice and the music perfectly imitates Loretta.
Someone said that they wanted a 5.1 soundtrack to the movie. Well... the movie was recorded in stereo. The country songs in the movie for the most part were in glorious 1950s one-speaker mono to give that authentic 1950s country sound. It plays mostly through the center channel and that's good enough.
The bonus materials also show Loretta's Coal Miner's Daughter museum. It houses alot of pieces from her past as well as alot of stuff from the movie. It will be interesting to go actually see this and be able to see it in person.
If you love CMD, get this DVD! If you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for? DO IT!
on June 10, 2003
. . . and, frankly, usually never even approached, in terms of quality. *Coal Miner's Daughter* set the bar very high indeed for the biopic. Most likely this was because the subject of the film, Loretta Lynn, was deeply involved in the project: it was based on her biography; Sissy Spacek actually lived with Lynn for almost a year prior to shooting; and Lynn basically kept a close watch on the proceedings. Loretta Lynn is a tough broad. If director Michael Apted had had any thoughts of making this a "sensational" piece, Lynn disabused him of the notion rather early, I would imagine. Hence, there's absolutely no salaciousness, no untoward intrusions of privacy, no "creative license". This is the story that Loretta Lynn wanted told, and by God, it got told. Needless to say, this way of making motion pictures, so uncharacteristic of the usual Hollywood method of cheapening everything for the sake of "entertainment", makes for a compulsively watchable experience. Story-wise, it's not terribly unique: it's the old rags-to-riches formula. But what rags, and what riches! The key to the movie's success is in the details: from the newspaper, serving as wallpaper, glued onto the walls of Loretta's home in the Kentucky "holler" . . . to the old pre-War washing-machine on the porch that Spacek kicks into gear while learning to play the guitar . . . to the baloney sandwiches consumed during Spacek's and Jones' journey from one radio station to the next in Tennessee . . . to the first nervous performance at the Grand Old Opry . . . to the luxuriantly appointed tour bus replete with "LORETTA LYNN" in elegant cursive writing on the side. Most impressively, Spacek does her own singing in the movie, echoing Lynn's style while avoiding overt mimicry. And Beverly D'Angelo is a revelation as Patsy Cline. A noted singer in her own right, D'Angelo arguably out-sings the real Cline in the numbers featured here. While this MIGHT be both Spacek's and D'Angelo's finest hours, it is almost CERTAINLY Tommy Lee Jones' finest hour. He plays Lynn's husband "Doo" with not only utter conviction, but with complete familiarity, as well. All in all, *Coal Miner's Daughter* remains the gold standard in the biopic genre.
on June 5, 2002
I LOVE this movie. This heartwarming, true rag-to-riches film about the life of Loretta Lynn took even the most sophisticated audiences by surprise when it was first released. Sissy Spacek is wonderfully accurate in her portrayal of the legendary but still humble and approachable country music star. This film made people who HATED country music take a second look. The story of the backwards, backwoods, painfully shy little girl whose simple, self-penned, biographical songs made her a huge star with almost unequaled # 1 country hits, is just as touching and great as when it was released. Tommy Lee Jones is perfect as "Doo", the man who stood by his woman, and Beverly D'Angelo gives a memorable performance as the legendary Patsy Cline. The fact that Spacek and D'Angelo so effectively do all their own singing, considering the shoes they had to fill, just makes this film all that much of a wonder. Levon Helm, of The Band, is also very good as "Lorettys" daddy. Just an all- around terrific film, with many touching moments from a by-gone time, when a little girl with a record could tap on the radio station window one day, and be a star a week later. Sissy Spacek's Oscar winning performance makes for a total class production about a total class lady. Loretta Lynn became one of this city boys favorites since seeing this film, and she remains so... a true, greatly admired, humanitarian *star*, who could teach most other celebrities a thing or two about "stardom". A perfect film for the whole family, the ultimate "feel good" movie. Thanks Loretty !! (And Sissy, too.) Just GREAT!!
on April 28, 2000
I went out and bought this movie because I enjoyed it so much. And more recently, I found and read Loretta's biography because I loved the movie so much. The movie is surprisingly true to the book.
I love Loretta's story because she was a real underdog. Raised in abject poverty in the Kentucky Mountains, she rises above it all, bit by bit, with her husband's love and support.
Doolittle (husband) bought her a guitar one year because he told her, "I like the way you sing." I've heard that the best marriages are ones where the spouse is our number one cheerleader and that's what Doolittle Lynn did for Loretta. He cheered her on. He supported her, loved her and believed in her.
The movie also touches on his shortcomings, but in the book, Loretta makes it clear that the good he did outweighed the bad and their marriage and relationship can not possibly be judged by anyone outside of the relationship.
Loretta is a strong woman - even as a 14 year old she speaks her mind and isn't afraid of much.
What do I love about this movie? It shows the infinite possibilities of life and that any obstacle can be overcome through persistence.
The acting by Spacek, Jones, D'Angelo, Helm and the entire cast is superior. The characters are very real - not Hollywood mock-ups, but real people.
It is probably one of my top three favorite movies of all time. It is a treasure.
on September 3, 1999
Sissy Spacek won a much-deserved Oscar for her lead in this wonderful biography of Loretta Lynn - the one and only queen of country music. I first saw this movie on the big screen in 1980 at the age of 20. I loved it THEN and I love it even more (if that's possible) NOW. I finally got my own copy last year and watch it over & over. Not only is Sissy Spacek fantastic in this movie so is Tommy Lee Jones and Beverly D'Angelo. It is a feel good movie with wonderful soundtrack. If you like the movie the soundtrack is simply a must. The only drawback is that it only comes in a cassette version, which is such a shame. The soundtrack also does something simply amazing. It does NOT star the music sung by Loretta Lynn & Patsy Cline but features the original stars from the movie: Sissy Spacek and Beverly D'Angelo. They sing all the songs on the soundtrack, which is unbelievable, since the music is simply fantastic! I own several Loretta Lynn & Patsy Cline CD's but this one should be in your collection as well.... Hold on, you're in for a treat. If they ever make this soundtrack in a CD version - rest assured I'd be the first in line at the checkout counter!
on November 18, 1999
I never grow tired of this movie. I have seen it over 100 times since it was released in 1980.I own it on laser disc,VHS and hope to find it on DVD. Sissy Spacek did a outstanding job playing the "Queen Of Country Music," Loretta Lynn. She more than earned the Oscar & golden globe awards show won. The soundtrack album is also a winner ! Everyone cast in this film was perfect. This film received 7 Academy Award nominations includeing BEST PICTURE. Loretta Lynn is still going strong 20 years after this movie was released. I seen her in concert recently and she still rules as the "QUEEN." I look foward to a sequal to this all time favorite film.
on March 19, 2003
As far as musical biographies are concern, coal miner's daughter stands alone. It is about the life and career of country legend Loretta Lynn, based on the autobiography of the same name. The music is fantasic, Sissy Spacek did her own singing and look and sounded amazingly like Loretta Lynn. Some say The Buddy Holly Story is just as good. It is also a fantastic movie with great music. But, unlike Sissy Spacek, Gary Busey is not doing his own singing. The movie mainly concentrates on Buddy Holly's career. Coal Miner's Daughter accurately portrays Loretta Lynn's early impoverished life in Butcher Holler, Kentucky. The movie is a good ethnographic portrayal of life in Applachia. Plus the movie does a good job in portraying the world of country music and life on the road. Coal Miner's Daughter is a great story of a person who was married at age 13 and had for kids by age 20 and ended up being one of the major country music and entertainment figure throughout the world.
on October 4, 2003
This dvd reminds you why we all love Loretta Lynn. It is the extraordinary story of an individual who went from rags to riches and never forgot her roots. The screen version of Loretta Lynn comes to life with Sissy's portrayal. She makes you forget it is a movie and instead you feel like you are just spending some time with Loretta Lynn. This movie is a part of the tapestry of Country Music, and it is a vibrant thread. One of Tonmmy Lee Jones' first big movies, and he shines in it. Extras include an excellent interview with the first lady of country music Loretta Lynn. This is a must have for any true country fan.
on November 1, 2015
Back in the VHS days, coalminer's daughter was the very first movie I ever bought. I paid 29 dollars for it at A&A records back in 1987. When it DVD I bought it and the picture was great BUT eventually I upgraded to an HDMI 3-D tv. The higher the quality of the tv the lower the quality of the DVD. That goes the same with the surround system. My sound system has a DTS decoder in it. The DVD has Dolby digital which sounds okay. Now I have coalminer's daughter on blu Ray with 1080p and DTS sound and it looks and sounds amazing. You can see sissy spacek' freckles more clearly. The rear speakers are more clearly with the bass that comes out like the explosion at the beginning of the film and some of the songs. I could never find this blu Ray at the store, I wasted time and gas searching for it. Thanks to Amazon.ca I finally have it I'm proud to say.