Michael Bates’s review:
I came across this yesterday on cable and forgot how electrifying this film was with it's scalding performances of Lange and Kim Stanley. Frances Farmer the actress whom this film is based was a Paramount star on the rise in the golden age of cinema; and the victim of the ravages of mental illness. When watching this film you are engrossed in the performances by it's two leads. Kim Stanley plays the Mother of all stage Mothers and chews Frances up and spits her out to the barbaric treatments of the mental health field of the early 20th century. What makes this film all the more chilling to watch is the comeback of Kim Stanley. Stanley's life mirrored that of Farmers from her critically acclaimed work on stage to the brief roles she played in films such as Seance On A Wet Afternoon and the 1958 film Goddess. Lange delivers in my mind one of her best performances of her career and Stanley knocks her role out of the ballpark. It is a rough film to watch at the handling of Frances in her time of need and the lack of compassion given by the Doctors and authorities. Frances is an amazing film as far as performances go but it is chilling to watch at the treatment given to the mentally ill in the 40's.