This relentlessly depressing film biography boasts a moving performance by Jessica Lange as Frances Farmer, one of the most beautiful movie actresses of the late 1930s and early 1940s, shown here as the victim of a forceful mother (Kim Stanley) and a tyrannical studio system. Farmer's
determined individualism--from her youth in Washington State to her success on stage--both thrusts her into the limelight and ultimately leads to her downfall. Throughout the film the fictitious Harry York (Sam Shepard) pops up offering Frances the hope of escape. Indeed, Farmer retired in 1942,
before she was 30, and spent the rest of her life in and out of hospitals until her death ...