A tightly assembled didactic thriller (1979), centering on a crisis in a California nuclear power plant. As a happy-talk newswoman who suddenly develops a conscience, Jane Fonda gives everything she failed to deliver in Coming Home—her character grows and deepens in a perfectly calibrated transformation. For director James Bridges, the film looks like a hack job, particularly after the personal anguish of 9/30/55, but it's a very good hack job: strong, simple, and perfectly paced, until the last reel flounders in a bit of overkill. With Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas, and Scott Brady. PG, 123 min.
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