“Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1980): Country Music Legend Biopic as Love Story

Coal Miner’s Daughter

Coal Miner’s Daughter is the rags-to-riches story of legendary country music singer Loretta Lynn. The film covers the Kentucky native’s early teen years in a poor family, getting married at 15, and her rise to become one of the most influential country musicians of all time. Based on Lynn’s 1976 biography of the same name by George Vecsey, the movie stars Sissy Spacek in an Oscar-winning performance as Lynn. Tommy Lee Jones, Beverly D’Angelo, and Levon Helm all shine in key supporting roles. Country music icons Ernest Tubb, Roy Acuff, and Minnie Pearl deliver cameo appearances as themselves.

“Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1980): Country Music Legend Biopic as Love Story

Films that Forever Matter Series

by John Smistad

I had this good friend in college.

Julie. Kinna flighty. Okay. WAY flighty. But super fun.

One of the joys of life Julie and I really liked to share was scoping out a new release movie in a theater. On this one occasion we were in a Houston area mall looking for a flick to catch. Which one? Hmmm. A promo poster suddenly caught our eye. Looks good we agreed.

So “Coal Miner’s Daughter” it would be.

My cinematic enthusiast life was just about to be changed forever…

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.”

Loretta Lynn (Sissy Spacek, in a simply stunning Oscar-winning tour de force) speaks these words of gratitude to her husband Doolittle (Tommy Lee Jones) deep into the 1980 biopic “Coal Miner’s Daughter”. It’s a classic case of “Be careful what you wish for…for you will surely get it!”.

At this point in the story country music legend Lynn is being run ragged on the road. And the merciless treadmill wouldn’t stop until she succumbed to a complete nervous breakdown on stage.  

At the same time, her hubby is drinking himself into oblivion. “Doo” feels there’s nothing else to do, having done his job as the driving force in pushing his sweet singing wife to superstardom.


Spacek herself performs all of the Loretta Lynn country music classics we hear in the film. And she is consistently right on note.

Coal Miner’s Daughter“Coal Miner’s Daughter” is a captivating chronicle

One of striving to reach your dreams, surpassing even your wildest ones, crashing to the ground in a frightening nose dive, and then fighting back to redeem what once was. And may never have been again.

But above all else, it is a glorious love story. The Lynn’s are a true husband and wife team. This couple come to realize that all the fame and fortune in the world really doesn’t mean a damn if you lose yourself, and those you love, to get there.

And, moreover, to stay there.

Personal Memory…

I’ll never forget Julie tightly clutching my left arm for dear life during the entirety of an unexpectedly jarring wedding night scene in a roadside hotel room.

The bruise didn’t last. The intense emotion of the moment has.

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About John Smistad

I am a voracious writer of Movie Reviews. Check 'em out at my Blog, "The Quick Flick Critic", @: The Quick Flick Critic Thanks guys! John