A 'people' movie rather than an 'issue' movie, setting nuclear martyr Karen Silkwood's battle with an uncaring nuclear industry against a backdrop of a troubled love affair, unwanted lesbian affection, child custody, and the eternal favourite of One Woman Against It All. But this is precisely where the film's fault lies. Silkwood's 'ordinariness' protects her from being labelled a wild-eyed Trot, but that should not be allowed to obscure her courage or the whitewash ladled onto her story after her death. Tiptoeing up to the final seconds of her life, swerving around any contentious points during it, and trying to have it both ways in the contradictory final reel, Silkwood runs a mile from hazarding its own opinion, and instead treats us to countless back-porch heart-to-hearts and lots of lovely countryside. Streep, Cher and Russell all turn in fine performances, and to the innocent or the uninformed the story may still come as a shock. But ultimately it's rather akin to making a film about Joan of Arc and concentrating on her period pains.
Cast and crew
Nora Ephron, Alice Arlen
Meryl Streep Kurt Russell Cher Craig T Nelson Diana Scarwid Fred Ward Ron Silver Charles Hallahan Josef Sommer M Emmet Walsh