Plot: The story of Karen Silkwood, a metallurgy worker at a plutonium processing plant who was purposefully contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered to prevent her from exposing blatant worker safety violations at the plant.

A radioactive lesbian played by Cher. I could end this post there and it would be enough to convince most people to watch this film. If that isn’t camp enough for you, Cher’s lesbian lover is portrayed by the actress who played Christina Crawford in Mommie Dearest. Any camper and Dolly Parton would turn up as a plucky Nuclear Processing Assistant.

Dolly Pelliker: [to Karen] Who’s gonna rape you that you ain’t already fucked?

Shacked up with Kurt Russell, when Meryl isn’t exposing unscrupulous nuclear processing plants, she has a rootin’ tootin’ good time making love as their confederate flag hangs overhead. I mentioned I had watched this film at work saying how much I enjoyed it, and described Cher’s role. My colleague commented: “I didn’t know Cher did films?”, to which I snapped back, “She is an OSCAR winner, thank you VERY much”. +10 man points. Oscar winner or not, Cher was understandably nervous about meeting Meryl for the first time: “I thought it was going to be like having an audience with the Pope”. If Meryl ever starts her own religion, let me know where I can sign up.


Nominated for five Oscars but failing to land one, Silkwood may not have got any recognition from the Academy but is firmly a part of movie pop culture. Give yourself a ‘full Silkwood’ next time you have a shower by getting Mint & Tea Tree Original Source shower gel in all the wrong places.

The sad but undeniable fact about Silkwood is that a film like it would never be made today. I watched this with my brother and I noticed that when he paused to make a drink at 60 minutes in, the main cover-up plot hadn’t even begun yet. A whole hour dedicated to building characters. These days, there would be 10 minutes at most and Karen would be played by Emma Watson in a poorly layered wig. I miss the 80s.


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