Based on the harrowing account of whistle blower Karen Silkwood, this 1983 film directed by Mike Nichols (The Graduate, Postcards from the Edge) is as much a character study of a woman galvanized by injustice as a story of the dangers of nuclear power and the extremes of corporate greed. When Karen discovers unsafe conditions and reckless protocol at the plant where she works, her actions in uncovering the dangers that lie at the plant not only cause a rift between her and her lover (Kurt Russell) and her best friend (Cher), but they threaten her very life. Streep gives yet another bravura performance as a wild child in Oklahoma forced to confront the harsh realities of her life, and the supporting cast, from Cher to Russell to Diana Scarwid is first rate. This true story of the woman who disappeared under mysterious circumstances while trying to find the truth is a well-told, challenging, and emotionally complex tale. --Robert Lane
I remember in high school her saying, 'Now what'd you want to take that science class for? There's no girls in that science class. You take home ec, why don't you? That's the way to meet the nice boys.' 'Mom,' I said, There ain't no boys in home ec. The boys are in the science class.' She hated when I said, 'Ain't.'