3 Sally Field Gems You May Have Missed

By | Begun 03/19/2016 | Updated 11/20/2016
Posted in Cross Cuts |
Sally Field seizes the dayRoadside Attractions

Sally Field has been a cinematic national treasure for decades, yet it’s been a good while since we’ve been treated to seeing her front and center. This weekend she returns to the leading lady slot with Hello, My Name is Doris and garners her customary accolades across the board (including a Rotten Tomatoes standing of 85% Critic/99% Audience as of this writing). I missed the screening due to health but will rectify that at my first opportunity, count on it. (Update: done.)

If you were born since 1975, however, it’s likely that others of Field’s triumphs slipped the radar, given that they hit the big screen while you were too young to see them, ran cable too young to appreciate them, and then swirled into the galaxy of TV channels and endless streaming content before you could notice.

If that’s the case, here are three that deserve placement on your watchlist post haste. All remain as timeless and relevant as they were at release, and will leave an indelible positive imprint on your soul.

Time to fire up the queue!

Norma Rae

Sally Field with Ron Liebman in Norma Rae (Twentieth Century Fox, 1979)

With Ron Liebman | Twentieth Century Fox

Though Field had long since become a fixture of pop culture and beloved in our hearts, this was the one that landed her first Oscar nomination and win. Here Field employs her surprising-spitfire vibe to maximum effect, portraying the real-life Crystal Lee Sutton with a delicate ferocity that is, as Liebman’s character observes, nothing short of sumptuous.

Places in the Heart

Sally Field with Danny Glover and John Malkovich in Places in the Heart (TriStar Pictures, 1984)

With Danny Glover and John Malkovich | TriStar Pictures

It’s the tragically and suddenly widowed Edna Spalding who earned Field’s second Oscar nomination and win (sparking the “you like me” meme that endures to this day in an acceptance speech that wasn’t nearly as goofy as seems). Here Field’s delicacy serves as the secret weapon, as those who imagined they could muscle Edna to their own advantage found out, to their great chagrin.

Murphy’s Romance 

Sally Field with James Garner, Murphy's Romance (Columbia Pictures, 1985)

With James Garner | Columbia Pictures

Sometimes the best things in life take you by surprise. Here we have one of those quiet near-sleepers that you can easily overlook, but once seen, melts your heart a little every time you think of it thereafter. Field’s winsome charm and Garner’s wry groundedness pair like peanut butter and chocolate, earning both Golden Globe nominations, with Garner receiving an Oscar nom as well (and demonstrating again why there should be an Oscar for casting, but that’s a subject for another day).

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