Martha Plimpton: ‘I feel alienated from my country, I am feeling mournful’

The Olivier Awards 2019 held at the Royal Albert Hall

Martha Plimpton has always been one of the most righteous people in Hollywood. She’s been a working actor almost all of her life, and sure, she’s spent time in LA, but her life is in New York, and she’s embraced the theater scene and everything else. She’s currently starring in Sweat, a play by Lynn Nottage, which recently transferred to London’s West End. Martha has been staying in London for several months by the sound of it, and she’s been viewing the current assault on American women with horror. Martha is a long-time advocate for reproductive freedom, and a few years back, she made headlines for talking about her abortions. She recently chatted with the Guardian about how she views Hollywood, how she views Trump’s America, and the assault on choice. Some highlights:

She’s not interested in Hollywood movies: “Hollywood movies have no appeal for me. I rarely even go to see one – and I’ll tell you why. There are about five women in all Hollywood movies for a period of about three years. Then you get a new crop of five women who are allowed to make movies for the next three years and so it goes on. And the men are allowed to age but not the women. TV is more diverse and interesting and so are independent films. I like films that are made in Britain and in Europe.

Looking back on her classic ‘80s tomboy roles: “It was a great time to be in movies because there were tomboys in films and those were the parts I used to get. But we don’t see tomboys on screen any more. American cinema doesn’t like women or girls who don’t fit a certain mould and that’s because movies aren’t being written or made by women. But there’s so much great content now on other platforms that Hollywood is quickly becoming irrelevant.

How she feels about the recent abortion-ban attempts: “Obviously, I am enraged. I am furious. I am terrified for the women of my country and the girls. Alabama’s not alone. We know their endgame is ultimately to have Roe v Wade struck down. We need to see the writing on the wall and recognise that Trump is an incredibly dangerous individual. My country is in the throes of something extremely serious and women are paying the price, as they always have.

Why she discussed her abortions: “I want to end the shaming that goes on around abortion and you can’t de-stigmatise something if you’re not willing to talk about it.

Whether she’ll relocate to England full-time now: “I have my UK residency now, so who knows? New York isn’t the city I grew up in any more. Even though I love my neighbourhood, my home and my friends, I feel alienated from my country. I know you guys are having similar problems here but I feel more optimistic about the future in the UK. Something tells me that sanity will prevail here. But in the States, I don’t know. I am feeling mournful about my country.

[From The Guardian]

I feel mournful about America too, but it’s probably even more profound in another country, when you’re on the outside looking in at the horror show of the Trump presidency and just how awful everything is now. No, that’s not true – it’s more awful being in America right now. “We need to see the writing on the wall and recognise that Trump is an incredibly dangerous individual.” I don’t understand why more people aren’t saying this now, and why they haven’t been saying this for the past three years. Or rather, people say it and then they move on and treat him like everybody else, like he’s not going to kill us all.

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21 Responses to “Martha Plimpton: ‘I feel alienated from my country, I am feeling mournful’”

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  1. Lala11_7 says:

    I’ve loved her since we were both young girls…

    That hasn’t changed a bit!

  2. minx says:

    Me too, Martha.

  3. adastraperaspera says:

    Martha is a national treasure! She is the best of what we can be as a community, as a country. I keep hoping that what we’re experiencing is an enormous wave of backlash against all the modernization that’s happened since WWII, and that we’ll beat back this medieval tide and evolve.

  4. Mabs A'Mabbin says:


  5. Becks1 says:

    yeah, I’m with her.

  6. Wilma says:

    I love her, but she’s wrong in thinking Britain will be alright. I’m more optimistic about the US as it’s so clear that the majority of the people don’t want crony Republicans and there are possibilities to take back the country, but Britain is more evenly split and there might not be any opportunities to vote before the Brexit shitshow goes down and takes the country down with it

    • Darla says:

      I’m not particularly optimistic about either of us.

    • Tina says:

      The UK and US are screwed in different ways. Reproductive and civil freedoms are not threatened in the UK (outside of NI) the way they are in the US. The US also has much less of a social safety net to lose. The UK, in contrast, is going to suffer economically (much more than we already are) and poor people will feel it most when their NHS is dismantled and benefits removed.

      Martha Plimpton is a wealthy white foreign woman who will never have need of the NHS or social benefits but of course will care about reproductive and other civil rights. It makes perfect sense that she would feel more comfortable in the UK right now.

  7. AM says:

    Feeling the same.
    It’s horrible what’s happening.
    Seeing news of people shot in schools and work place ,M public outings on a regular basis.
    Reading and seeing video of racists threatening POC for wanting to picnic, go to a camp ground, or just live normal daily activities has become a nightmare
    Seeing abortions rights being taken away.
    Seeing women having to fight for freedoms all over again which were gained in the decades ago, it’s sad.
    Heartache everyday since the election of 2016. How people did not pay attention or chose not to go vote is beyond me, when the GOP was telling people exactly what they would do to our rights and freedoms, it’s beyond comprehension.

  8. FredsMother says:

    Gah. It’s not in America or US alone. Check out Estonia recently. And they keep electing far right baffoons and also ‘bankers’ as Presidents in a bunch of EU countries.

  9. Meg says:

    That movie Olivia Wilde directed booksmart is the most relateable movie for me & got great reviews yet made little to no money at the box office. It’s so depressing how so many see women, ‘i dont want to screw u so why would I care about ur story?’

    • Meg says:

      It makes me so mad people criticized Carrie Fisher for aging in star wars but nor Harrison Ford. Women aren’t human I guess to those people?
      I used to think Tina feys comment years ago that your career as a woman stops once no one wants to screw u anymore was an exaggeration for comedic effect but no it wasn’t. How depressing

  10. a reader says:

    I have loved Martha since Goonies and we’re roughly the same age. She is indeed a national treasure and I loved this interview.

    That being said she is dead wrong about one thing. Overturning Roe is not the goal. Overturning GRISWOLD is. Losing Roe would have terrifying consequences but losing Griswold would be even worse.

  11. egot says:

    Mary, I’m a model!

  12. Eve says:

    I’ve been mourning for two: first for my country (Brazil).

    Then for you guys — the Brazilian president licks Trump’s shoes (and well know Trump is a heinous human being) — because anything that affects the US, affects the rest of the world.

    Sad times we’re living.

    • Alyse says:

      Oh wow Eve, I’m sorry for what Brazil is going through! I had a vague idea (awful fascist leader winning the election), but after watching the Patriot Act episode on Brazil a few weeks ago…. I was a bit speechless tbh

      • Eve says:


        I could write a list of the sh*t he’s been pulling but, honestly, it makes me depressed.

        But just so you can have an idea: he is — definitely — WORSE than Trump. More stupid, more ridiculous, more racist, more mysoginistic and more homophobic than Trump. You read it right.

        He once said he’d rather see a son die than coming out as gay. He calls his sons by numbers: 01, 02, 03 and 04. One of his sons, by the way, is implicated in an ongoing investigation about a militia that executed a left-winged, lesbian politician called Marielle Silva.

        His policies (if approved) will destroy Brazilian’s environment for good.

        Violence in general, violence against women, people of colour, the poor, gays, non-christians have skyrocketed ever since he was elected last year.

        I am not exaggerating. Then I realize we’re only SIX months into this maniac’s government and get even more depressed.

        I live in fear I may be attacked for being a woman, left-winged, atheist, pro-choice, pro-minorities.

        I fear for the safety of those I love and care about.

        Believe me, we’re living a nightmare.

        P.S.: I cry almost every single day (even under heavy medication for depression and severe anxiety) . I’ve been suffering panic attacks — I’ve been practically housebound. Stopped going to my psychiatrist/therapist because it wasn’t working anyway. But I may have to go back because the suicidal thoughts are running wild in my mind. I’ve been losing every bit of hope I’ve ever had.

        P.P.S.: Sorry for the rant.

      • Sue Denim says:

        Eve, just here to send you love and light. Thanks for sharing your story and your concerns. Pls do try to get help soon, there’s so much good you can do, even just by being good, even just in small ways. I lived through a civil war years ago and have been triggered the past few years too, but I take some solace in knowing that such evil has always existed, and now is our time to face it as best we can, in whatever way we can, and not to let it defeat us…

        From the Hobbit: “Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”

        Wishing you all the best.

      • Eve says:

        @Sue Denim:

        Thank you very much, dear. And I understand what you mean but lately everything seems so…disheartening.

        Brazil may not have been through a civil war (yet) but we’ve been through 29 years of a vicious far-right dictatorship.

        Please, don’t read this as if I’m downplaying your horrific experience — which I sincerely hope is behind you and that you’ll never have to face it again.

        Nowadays, Brazil may not be at war but statistics show we have “civil war numbers” (when it comes to violent deaths, something around 500.000 in 10 years). To make matters worse, the current president wants to make easier for people to: own guns; carry guns and farmers to shoot “trespassers” upon sight (which is a direct message to the movement of landless farmers).

        Anyway, have to stop now. Don’t want to be a Debbie Downer.

      • Eve says:

        Small correction:

        Marielle Francisco da Silva was mostly known by the name “Marielle Franco” (she was executed with four shots in the head, the driver/bodyguard was also killed).