Jessica Lange as Patsy Cline
Jessica plays Patsy Cline, country music superstar, from her early days of anonymity to her successful years, up to her tragic death. The film is mostly focused on her relationship with her abusive husband and their bumpy love story. The role makes room for enough loud scenes & shouting, but such moments of domestic trouble weren’t so interesting to me. As for the scenes with singing, her lip-sync is… just ok; not the worst, but you could easily notice the difference.
As you can tell, my biggest trouble with this performance is that I didn’t see Patsy in it. Jessica surely tries and she is most effective in the quieter scenes, like the ones after the car accident or any other time when she gets to reflect on what’s happening around her. Sometimes, she fails: her loud southern style is unconvincing and often feels unnatural, as if she was trying just a bit too hard. Also, her scenes as younger Patsy are the weakest.
A good screenplay might’ve made the difference and would’ve allowed Jessica, if not to convince me this is biopic, at least to put in some depth into the character. However, as it is, the writing is very lazy, sometimes giving way too much explained emotion into the dialogue, when we should’ve actually seen that through Jessica’s acting. I didn’t feel a connection to the character, because most of it is laid just on the surface… Could Jessica have done better with an ok screenplay? Hard to say. What I do know is that I had almost no idea who Patsy was, other that some loud, abused wife.
And you know I cannot not mention that Meryl was up for this role and didn’t get it… While it doesn’t affect my judgment of Jessica’s performance, I suspect Meryl would’ve been more convincing even just by letting sensuality behind and losing herself in the character… Because Jessica’s performance has a bit too much sassiness in my opinion and not enough real emotion spread throughout the film.
Jessica is good, she’s ok, she’s gorgeous in the second half, but not convincing to me. And while I’ve clearly underlined the failure of the screenplay and the direction also is messy as hell, this shouldn’t influence my perception of the final result. Truth is, to me it’s an unsatisfying, incomplete performance; while I considered at one point to give it more, I must go with a strong . But seriously: love you, Jessica! It just wasn’t the role for you, also not the screenplay.