Rewatching Patsy & Loretta
Updated: May 27, 2022
During my internship with Jacqueline Cutler, we went to the movie premiere for Patsy & Loretta. It was an experience I will never forget.
When the opportunity arrived to go to a movie premiere, I was excited but mostly nervous. I have social anxiety, and I knew many people would be there. The premiere was also in New York City, and I have always disliked going there – the crowds and noise were always too much for me.
Still, I went along with it. I dressed up, picked up Jackie, and took the train to New York. From the moment I walked into Carnegie Hall, I was overwhelmed. There were so many people, but I kept thinking, 'just watch the movie.' Being such a good journalist, Jackie took notes throughout the entire movie. I watched for entertainment but already had some bias with it being a Lifetime movie.
Then came the after-party.
I was over it and wanted to go home, but I didn't express that. We met up with some of Jackie's friends, and they were all catching up. They introduced themselves to me, but I was trying to eat to prevent having to speak. Unfortunately, the food was not appetizing. I was incredibly nervous and didn't have the nerve to ask questions or make small talk. Someone took pity on me and started asking me questions to include me in the conversation, but I was so panicked that I had a hard time forming words.
I don't remember much else from that night. I tried not to cry or break down in front of all those people. I'm not sure if my anxiety was apparent, but it was never explicitly acknowledged by anyone else, probably as an act of kindness. The only other thing I remember was crying my eyes out the entire drive home from Jackie's house. It was my opportunity to have fun and network, and I soiled it completely, all because I couldn't get over a ridiculous fear.
Later, Jackie asked me to write a piece on the premiere, taking any angle I liked. I didn't want to write about how traumatized I felt by it, and I couldn't remember enough of the movie to write anything coherent. I felt trapped and ignored the assignment for as long as possible. Just hours before I was supposed to meet with Jackie, I managed to write something during one of my college classes. I was embarrassed by what I handed her. It was not a good representation of my work, but the wound was fresh, and I couldn't look past it.
The movie recently became available on Netflix, and now within the safe walls of my bedroom, I know I can write something better.
Patsy & Loretta had a television release in October 2019 and was later released on Netflix in February 2022. It's the story of the friendship between country music stars Patsy Cline, played by Megan Hilty, and Loretta Lynn, played by Jessie Mueller. Written by Angelina Burnett and directed by Callie Khouri – best known for writing Thelma & Louise – Patsy & Loretta is created by women about women.
In only the way women can understand, Patsy & Loretta is a commentary on a woman's internal struggle between motherhood and a successful career. The friendship between Patsy and Loretta serves as the perfect context for such a discussion. Patsy is introduced as career-driven and a smart businesswoman, and Loretta is introduced as a mom mindlessly singing while she makes dinner for her family of six. Despite living different lives, they soon meet and embark on similar paths.
As the movie continues, we see each woman lean on the other for comfort, advice, and almost admiration, on how they handle the delicate balance between work and home. Loretta describes her singing almost as an extension of her mothering, making people feel like they're not alone. Meanwhile, Patsy needs this career to make ends meet and has always seen it as a job.
These women have differing views on work and family, but they somehow want the same things. They want to be there for their children and strive for success, but their husbands barely help and often cause other issues.
This need to be a loving mother and a successful career woman is alluded to as a cause of Patsy's unfortunate demise. She was willing to get on a plane in bad weather to get back to her children sooner.
There is only one way they would have found true happiness and success, Patsy describes it best, "there are two things I want in this world, babies and hit records."
Stream Patsy & Loretta on Netflix
Read Jacqueline Cutler's article 'Oscar Winner Callie Khouri Hits Another High Note Directing Lifetime's 'Patsy & Loretta'" at MediaVillage.com.