Mary Elizabeth “Sissy” Spacek turns 70

Recommended: In the Bedroom; The Straight Story

Sissy Spacek
I know nothing about this album.
Although I never saw either Carrie or Coal Miner’s Daughter, I’ve seen Sissy Spacek in a slew of movies, so many that I had to look them up on IMDB.

Three Women (1976). Robert Altman film about three women in a western desert town. It was creepy, as I recall.

Missing (1982). It was a Costa-Gavras (Z) political drama in a South American country on the precipice of a military coup. American activist Charles Horman (John Shea) suddenly disappears. Spacek plays his wife Beth, who can find no information from either the new rulers or from the American consulate. Her father-in-law Ed Horman (Jack Lemmon) joins Beth in the search, despite their political differences. A real thriller.

Crimes of the Heart (1986). “Three sisters from a rather dysfunctional family in the South are gathered together for a birthday. One can’t seem to stay in a relationship for long, one was just released on bond for shooting her senator husband, and the other is an aspiring actress.” Well-acted but stagey, if memory serves.

The Nineties

The Long Walk Home (1990). The Mongomery (AL) bus boycott of 1955/1956 was “a decided inconvenience for Miriam Thompson (Sissy Spacek), a well-to-do white woman. Now, Miriam must drive to the black section of town to pick up her maid Odessa Cotter (Whoopi Goldberg) and bring her to work.” I recall it as pretty good, albeit sober.

JFK (1991). Spacek played the wife of the crusading district attorney wife of the Louisiana district attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner), who is skeptical that Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby each acted alone. Liz Garrison served as a sounding board, I believe.

If These Walls Could Talk (1996 TV movie). An anthology “about three disparate women coping with unexpected pregnancies.” Spacek is in the middle section in 1974 “when Barbara, who already has four kids, tackles another one. A pretty good, if overly earnest, film.

The Straight Story (1999). A G-rated David Lynch film about “a trip made by 73-year-old Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth in his final role) from Laurens, Iowa, to Mt. Zion, Wis., in 1994 while riding a lawnmower. The man undertook his strange journey to mend his relationship with his ill, estranged, 75-year-old brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton). Spacek plays Alvin’s daughter Rose. This was REALLY good and quite touching.

21st Century

In the Bedroom (2001). “A New England couple’s college-aged son dates an older woman who has two small children and an unwelcome ex-husband.” This is Spacek’s best performance among the ones on this list. “Quietly wrenching…”

Tuck Everlasting. I’m fairly certain I saw it, but the details of the book adaptation are failing me.

North Country. I recall that Charlize Theron was quite good as “Lori Jenson, who took a job at a Minnesota iron mine in 1975. She and other female miners endured harassment from male co-workers.” But I’m not remembering Spacek.

Get Low (2009). I saw the movie. Fortunately, I wrote about it, and the details are refreshed.

The Help (2011). She played the old woman pushing back against her daughter’s bigotry.

Sissy Spacek turns 70 on Christmas Day 2019.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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