Review of Silkwood

Review of Silkwood written by Alice Arlen and Nora Ephron and directed by Mike Nichols
Rating ****

One advantage of using an online service like Blockbuster or Netflix is the ability to watch older movies that the stores no longer carry. This movie, released in 1983, was mentioned in a story related to the nuclear accident in Japan. Since I hadn’t seen the movie before, I thought I’d add it my queue.

Meryl Streep plays the main character, Karen Silkwood, who works in a plant that deals with plutonium and other radioactive materials. She is joined by Kurt Russell, who plays her boyfriend, and Cher, who plays Karen’s roommate. All three work at the same plant in Oklahoma. They also live together, which provides an interesting meileu.

While the material they have to work with is dangerous, the work itself is assembly line type work that doesn’t require a lot of skill or knowledge. These are lower middleclass people.

The story revolves around the mysterious death of Karen Silkwood, who had become involved in union activities. She apparently had uncovered some safety related concerns that the union was planning to use against the company in upcomming negotiations.

There is antogonizim between Karen and her supervisor and eventually her coworkers whom believe that Karen’s probing could end up costing them their jobs. So when Karen becomes contaminated with plutonium, there is the possibility that the contanimation was intentional and not accidental.

This film is more of a character study than a story of intrigue. But for a film nearly thirty-years old, it holds up well. I would have liked to have seen some DVD extras, but there wasn’t any. Not even a picture of the real Karen Silkwood.

This is a top notch film by top notch people. If you haven’t seen this one, it’s worth your time.


  1. […] films, and documentaries that others might have missed. A few posts back I wrote about the film Silkwood, which was released in 1983. Today I’m writing about a film that was released in […]

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