Christmas week 2016 was a lot different than most years with the untimely passing of Carrie Fisher, followed quite dramatically by the death of mom Debbie Reynolds one day later. In show business, timing is everything. And, if you remember the film "Postcards from the Edge" written by Carrie in a semi-autobiographical mode, you certainly understand why Debbie wanted to go and be with her daughter.
And if that Meryl Streep-Shirley MacLaine movie didn't demonstrate that enough for you, the HBO documentary "Bright Lights" is final validation about the intense connection between mother and daughter. Filmed over a two year period from 2013 to 2015, this magnificent film chronicles the world of Debbie and Carrie, but son Todd as well. The women are followed around by cameras as they toddle around on the same Beverly Hills compound where they both lived, separated by a hilly walkway. Originally, the documentary was to run on HBO in the spring. The recent developments prompted them to move up the premiere and wisely so.
Your emotions will ping pong back and forth from sheer laughter to tears. Carrie, always fiercely funny, is a scream as she deals with her own career as well as bringing casseroles over to Mom on a nightly basis. Their banter is so organic and funny that it couldn't possibly be conjured up by a writer. At one ironic moment, Carrie asks Debbie if she's getting more than her brother in the will.
Meanwhile, Debbie is desperately trying to keep performing and you watch as she makes some tour stops on days when she is certainly becoming more frail and forgetful. At one point, she is motoring around a Vegas casino in a motorized scooter. Carrie worries constantly about her mom and dotes over her. At the same time, you can see how totally eccentric she is with a home full of memorabilia and enough junk to make Fred Sanford envious.
Punctuating the current day footage are magically candid home movies of the kids growing up in Hollywood. Plus there is an incredibly poignant conversation from 2010 between Carrie and dad Eddie Fisher in his final days that will rip your heart out. Their lives are all laid out in front of us with no curtains drawn. As a result, you learn so much about the inner workings and psyche of a show business family.
Debbie's fervent connection with her daughter is so strong that, one more time, you completely understand how her daughter's death broke her heart. On the flip side, you can also see very easily why Carrie is no longer with us. In virtually every scene, she is either eating junk food, drinking a can of Coke, or smoking a cigarette. Even without the publicized past drug use, her body was being battered from within daily.
This should be a must watch for you this winter. Find it on HBO as soon as you can.
Dinner last night: Had a big lunch so just a sandwich.