One of the best music biopics ever made, this 1980 portrait of country singer Loretta Lynn features strong social commentary about Appalachian poverty and the hypocrisy of show business. Director Michael Apted seems to sneak these themes between the seams of a finely crafted melodrama that hews to the standard path of a star's rise, fall, and comeback. The intelligent, rangy actress Sissy Spacek gives it her all, demonstrating surprisingly strong musical skills. Spacek won several awards, including an Oscar, for her performance. The cinematography of Ralf Bode and Apted's piercing direction provide even those who aren't fans of country music with an unforgettable portrait of backwoods Kentucky. Coal Miner's Daughter received 7 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.
by Michael Betzold review