I don't much have an interest in that there country western music, and you can be danged sure I ain't never heard of no broad by the name of Loretta Lynn, so y'all can prolly imagine what my expectations were for this here DVD based on her autobiography. Well, my expectations were all wrong. This was a very enjoyable film with lots of heart and heartache, and even being over two hours long, it not once got even slightly boring. This movie wasn't about country music at all, it was all about the life of Loretta Lynn, formerly Loretta Web, a young girl who would eventually rise from ignorance and poverty to become a superstar country singer with the help of her husband, Doolittle 'Mooney' Lynn. And boy, what a life she has led!
As the title suggests, Loretta was the daughter of a coal miner. She lived with her parents and her many siblings in a Kentucky town called Butcher Holler. They were poor, though their father always made sure that had what they needed. Then one day, when she was 13 years old, a fellow called Doolittle 'Mooney' Lynn returned from the war, and almost instantly he took a fancy to Loretta. He was a secure, outgoing man of the world, giving Loretta little chance of resisting his charms. Soon they were in love, and it wasn't long after her 14th birthday that the two wed, much to the dismay of her parents. Fourteen?! What year is this again? 1820?
Anyway, Doolittle, or Doo as she calls him, worked hard to provide for his new wife, but unfortunately the stress of working in the mines mixed with the lack of experience Loretta had at being a good housewife proved to be too much, and the once happy couple separated... though not before she became pregnant. Realizing there was no future for him or his future family in Butcher Holler, Doo decides to head out of town looking, but before he leaves, he promises Loretta that he'll be sending for her once he finds work and saves up enough money. I'm sure a lot of guys who said that exact same thing were never to be heard from again, but not Doo.
Doo found work in Custer, Washington, and just as he promised, sent her the money to come and join him. Loretta then had several more children, and became quite skilled at being a housewife. She continued to sing to her children all the while, just like she had done with her sibling. Then one anniversary Doo brought home a guitar. Not quite the gift of wedding rings like she had hoped, but with his support she became skilled with the instrument and started composing her own songs. Well, it took some mighty hard convincing on Doo's part, but he finally got Loretta up on stage in front of an audience to show off her vocal talents... and once she was up there, she loved it!
She played a lot of spots in the area, and eventually got to cut her own record. Doo packed up and mailed out copies to every radio station in the area, and soon they took off on the road, searching for radio towers so that they could drop in and promote the record, which helped immensely. Before the two knew it, they had a hit record on their hands, and Loretta found herself performing at the Grand Ole Opry, where she returned again and again. And from there, she just kept on getting bigger and bigger. She became good friends with Patsy Cline, and went on tour with her. Then she got her own tour bus and went on her own tour. Ah, but the story doesn't end there. As with many huge stars, the fame, the traveling, and the long hours all take their toll, and Loretta was no exception.
This woman's journey from rags-to-riches is an outstanding one. Afterwards, it made me want to take to the 'net and see what happened after the movie ended, as well as what had been left out of the film. And what's great about this DVD is that this it's actually a very well done anniversary release, unlike some other anniversary releases that shall remain nameless (The Jerk - 26th Anniversary Edition... okay, I couldn't help myself). It includes a commentary with Sissy Spacek and director Michael Apted, a featurette called "Tommy Lee Jones remembers Coal Miner's Daughter" where Tommy Lee Jones reminisces about making the film, an exclusive interview with the real Loretta Lynn, and inside the gold colored DVD case is a little collectable photo journal.
Coal Miner's Daughter - 25th Anniversary Edition was released on September 13, 2005. It's directed by Michael Apted and stars Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn, Tommy Lee Jones as Doolittle 'Mooney' Lynn, and Beverly D'Angelo as Patsy Cline. Check out the official website for more.