THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
MORT AT THE MOVIES
You doret have to be a country
music fan to like Sweet Dreams
(Rated PG-13). Yes, you'll hear a
lot of Patsy Cline records, and
they're great! But this is primar-
ily a sweet, passionate, vibrant
There are knock-out perform-
ances by stars Jessica Lange as
Patsy Cline, and Ed Harris as her
second husband, Charlie Dick:
And there is a marvelous support-
ing stint by Ann Wedgeworth as
Jessica Lange proves once
again that she is not only a "star,"
she is an exceptional actress.
With Lange, you don't keep get-
There is a sweetness
to the Dixie lifestyle
that can't be denied.
And that is what
comes through in
ting th same "star personality"
which is all that many Hollywood
luminaries have to offer. Lange
sharply etches each character,
completely individualizing it. She
creates an intense reality that is
penetrating, even haunting.
Consider for a moment the gal-
lery of portraits she's given us so
far: the hip, urbane actress in
Tootsie; the determined farm wife
in Country; the tortured Frances.
As Patsy Cline, Lange gives us
another unforgettable char-
acterization. She is earthy, tough,
lusty. The glint in her eyes, the
smile fighting to be loosed from
the corners of her mouth tell us of
the vital energy that is swirling
She does a superb job of lip-
synching the original Patsy Cline
vocal tracks. Somehow the joy, the
pain, the suffering in the strong
beer-and-cigarette voice seem to
be coming from Lange.
And how great Patsy Cline
sounds today. I understand that
new instrumental tracks were
added behind several of her origi-
nal vocals. But still the style and
technique of those vocals is way
ahead of its time. What a tragedy
that her career was cut short by th
plane crash that ended her life
when she was just 31. The film
should certainly start a Patsy
Cline revival and create a demand
fo her records once again.
Ed Harris is outstanding as
Cline's husband. He gives us all th
shadings of this complex hot-
tempered character: loving his
wife, resenting her success.
Overall, Sweet Dreams is, as
our southern citizens are wont to
say, "real down-home." There is a
special way that folks south of the
Mason-Dixon line express them-
selves; there is an attitude toward
living that is different. And all of
that is captured beautifully here.
Sometimes big-city folk are in-
clined to look down their noses at
the simplicity of the southern ap-
proach. But there is an essential
niceness and goodness about it all
that is very appealing. Now it is
true that sometimes this folksy
avoidance of anything affected or
pretentious becomes an affecta-
tion in itself. But basically there
is a sweetness to the Dixie life-
style that can't be denied.. And
that is what comes through in
Sweet Dreams was produced by
Bernard Schwartz, who was also
responsible for the smash hit,
Coal Miner'S Daughter. So in-
evitably there are comparisons
between the two. But that doesn't
make much sense to me. Coal
Miner's Daughter had a lot of
things going for it that Sweet
Dreams doesn't. It's about a star
who has been around for a long
time, someone we still see reg-
ularly on TV. And it had a "happy
Unfortunately, Patsy Cline was
just getting started on lier career
when she was killed. So we don't
have the same familiarity with
her, and can't identify as readily.
But all this is really secondary.
Every film should be judged on its
own merits. And on its own merits
Sweet Dreams is a delightful,
entertaining, moving experience.
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