Tag Archives: Pasty Cline

Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Coal Miner’s Daughter</strong> (1980)

(In French, On Cable TV, October 2018) Even considering that I’m not a country music fan, it took me far longer than I care to admit to realize that Coal Miner’s Daughter wasn’t just a musical drama, but a biopic about major country music star Loretta Lynn. (To be fair, I did start to suspect something once Pasty Cline started playing a role in the film.) So, speaking about a perspective as ignorant as it’s possible to be, I must say that the film works well. It spends a lot of time detailing Lynn’s upbringing in a desperately poor Kentucky community, the first few years of her marriage (including a bit of domestic abuse too quickly glossed over) and only then her ascension to the top of the country charts. The struggles of an up-and-coming musical are convincingly rendered, and so are the other kinds of challenges that come with success and fame. The inclusion of a tragic subplot featuring Cline does add a bit of complications not usually found in most music biopics. Sissy Spacek is compelling in the title role as she transforms herself from a poor teenage bride to a country music superstar; Tommy Lee Jones has an early (and not entirely glorious) role as her husband. While I’m not a natural audience for that kind of film and even if the musical biopic subgenre has a history of repeating itself, Coal Miner’s Daughter remains a well-executed example of the form, with its 1980s patina further enhancing its look at 1960s country music.