Unfortunately, there are probably too many young people out there who don’t know who Loretta Lynn is. Not many people listen to classic country music today when there’s Lady Gaga, T-Pain and YouTube. But my mom’s side is from Kentucky, I grew up with radios tuned to country and I have some fond memories of watching The Grand Ole Opry with my grandma. So maybe I’m just one of the few in my generation that could really appreciate Coal Miner’s Daughter.
It’s the story of country singer Loretta Lynn (Sissy Spacek) as she rises from her humble beginning in Appalachia Kentucky. Her daddy slaves away in the coal mine and her mama takes care of eight kids. Loretta gets married at thirteen and starts having babies at fourteen. In no time, she’s got a whole slew of kids to take care of. Her husband notices Loretta’s natural talented voice and gets her a guitar for an anniversary gift. She takes to the guitar like a duck to water, singing to her kids. Though Loretta’s reluctant and shy at first, her husband pushes her to make a record and then to drive across Kentucky and Tennessee promoting it at every radio station they find. Before she even knows it, Loretta’s a star on the charts.
Sissy Spacek gives the performance of a lifetime and wins the Oscar for her role as Loretta. She’s able to raise Loretta up from a naive, innocent girl, to a shy woman peddling her records all the way to a glitzy star on the big stage while always keeping her strictly Loretta. Mastering that distinct hillbilly drawl seems challenging enough, but Sissy also sang all the songs in the film.
Just as they have always been, Lynn’s songs are wonderful. They’re the only suitable soundtrack and bring out the true heart of Lynn’s story. If you enjoy country music at all, that’s enough to put Coal Miner’s Daughter on a must watch list.
“I done wrote me a song Betty Sue. Your mama dadgome songwriter now.”