Lange gets deep into these numbers, the sound and spirit of Patsy seeming to stream through her face, body and hands with the musical equivalent of that hunger for living. Hominy Harmonies: Lange's energy, sensuality and intelligence pump iron into Getchell's script, which doesn't have the bite and color of his "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore." [7 Oct 1985, p.88]
Director Karel Reisz (The French Lieutenant's Woman) clearly doesn't trust the American audience's ability to handle mixed, emotionally complex tones (and by all the available evidence he's right not to), yet by segregating the feelings he wants to express he makes them seem artificial and programmatic. But the performances do have a redeeming vividness.
The point is: When Sweet Dreams' as it is now constructed, is over, we remember and are intrigued more by Charlie Dick than by Patsy Cline, played by Jessica Lange in a performance that comes up short when necessarily compared with Sissy Spacek`s tour de force as Loretta Lynn in ''Coal Miner`s Daughter.''
SWEET DREAMS is like "Coal Miner's Daughter," but without the grit. It's a slow, insensate musical biography, with the unfortunate Jessica Lange miscast as country singer Patsy Cline. The physical and emotional opposite of the coarse Cline, Lange looks like a refugee from a dude ranch in her western gear, her delicate features overwhelmed by a raggedy black wig and a rhinestone cowgirl's hat. She croons into the smokey, liquor-soaked night of a honky- tonk saloon, "I Fall to Piecessss . . . ." [11 Oct 1985, p.29]