Picks and Pans Review: A Woman of Independent Means

updated 02/20/1995 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/20/1995 01:00AM

NBC (Sun., Feb. 19, 9 p.m. ET)

B-

In this ceremonious miniseries, Sally Field plays the heroine of Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey's novel. A child of this century, she seeks fulfillment as a wife and mother, but chafes at the traditional restrictions on her gender. Her fortunes ebb and flow; men come and go. The only constants in her long life are love, devotion and sacrifice.

Airing over three nights (Sunday, Monday and Wednesday), the melodrama propels Field from a spirited young lady in the late Edwardian period (wait until you see the muttonchops sported by Charles Durning) to a hunched-over great-grandmother in the 1970s. It's more engaging than last year's reeling-through-the-decades miniseries, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, primarily because Field's character grows on us. Still, despite some moving moments, this is a drawn-out, stuffy and lugubrious project.

Field gives a bountiful if precious performance. Tony Goldwyn, Brenda Fricker, Ron Silver and Jack Thompson costar.

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