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|Index||14 reviews in total|
I saw this last month at the AFI. Funny, witty, charming, sad, tragic...all of this...now even more sad and tragic with Carrie's passing today. I am so glad I saw this while she was still living. It was filmed over a year ago, but it was so moving and touching. My heart goes out to Debbie, we all thought she'd pass before her daughter. You made a difference Carrie and you left a legacy of your own behind. This documentary is about a mother and daughter, a famous mother and daughter at that. They went through so many hard times, yet there were wonderful times as well. Both are legends in their own right. Two legends in the same family.
Why does no one mention this fine documentary of both Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, that played on HBO and AFI 2016. I found it so moving and informative about their very close relationship. I'm hoping the film will be distributed widely following Carrie's premature death. What's wrong with those obit writers who don't seem to be aware of this film? An important revelation to this viewer was the musical talent Carrie exhibited. Her singing voice reflected the gifts she inherited from both Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. There may have been downsides to being the child of such celebrated parents, but she was certainly up to the task. In addition, her wry observations of herself and others was right on. Kitty A postscript following the death of Debbie Reynolds. Bright Lights gives an answer to why the symbiosis of this relationship could lead to the second death.
When Carrie Fisher passed away unexpectedly late last year, at that
time knowing nothing about the health of her mother, Debbie Reynolds,
only her age - 84 - I thought to myself, this kind of a shock could do
a person in at that age. And the next day it did.
This documentary shows these two as much more than just mother and daughter, but fast friends. It is a great tribute to both ladies. It talks a little bit about Debbie's past problems - being abandoned by her husband with two small children, then marrying a guy she thought would bring her family some stability and security, but it didn't - he in fact bankrupted them with his compulsive gambling. And she faced all of this with dignity and was a fighter.
Debbie doesn't do that much talking for or about herself. In fact through most of the documentary it is mentioned how she is feeling just awful, but you'd never guess it. She is always dressed to the nines and smiling - something Carrie said she learned as a recruit in the old studio system at MGM. And then, feeling awful, Debbie books a Las Vegas show and brings her children into the act because she simply can't do the whole show. She just couldn't retire outright because she loved entertaining and loved the audiences.
Carrie does most of the talking. Like mom, she is a fighter, and also has quite a sense of humor. She fought her way back from a childhood in which she was abandoned by her dad, Eddie Fisher, in every way possible. It's like he just left them behind like they were part of a past life - until Carrie had some success and he came back asking for money. She fought her way back from drug addiction and her failed marriage to Paul Simon, who was much older than she, and during the documentary she is quite open about her battle with her weight as she tries to get the pounds off with the help of a trainer in preparation for the Star Wars film, "Episode 7". The trainer keeps trying to take her sodas away from her - which she keeps replenishing.
Carrie has a visit from old childhood chum Griffin Dunne, and they easily talk about their youth. After all of the awful stuff you have just learned about her dad, Eddie Fisher, and his parental negligence, Carrie goes to visit him, and he does look like death warmed over at this point, and Carrie tells him that she loves him and she seems to really mean it. It is revealed during the documentary that Eddie Fisher was a drug addict too, and I think having that common experience with her dad has made it easier for her to forgive him. What a classy lady. Eddie Fisher passed away in 2010, so obviously this part of the documentary was shot much earlier.
Todd, Carrie's younger brother, is in the documentary too, but he doesn't have much to say.
The documentary is not in "this is your life" style. It is more just following Debbie and Carrie around and showing the deep relationship and love they had for one another. Dance on in the afterlife classy ladies, you'll both be terribly missed. I miss you already.
Obviously, highly recommended.
Watching this and seeing the true Love between Debbie & her children is
heartwarming. It also gives you a slight insight into the old and new
Hollywood lifestyle. Not such an easy life.
After seeing how much Carrie cared for her Mom, and worried about her declining health, I wonder if Carrie is actually the one who died of a broken heart. Those 2 were soul mates, and they left the word at almost the same time.
I thought it was so well done, and such a tribute to 2 lovely lades.
My heart goes out to Billie Lourd, who at age 24,lost her Mom & Grandmom, and Todd Fisher, who lost his Mom & his sister.
Nothing will bring them back, but this film will be such a great memory for their family now, and for generations to come.
Bright Lights is an illuminating look inside the homes and lives of two legends. I love Carrie Fisher cooking a soufflé for her mother Debbie Reynolds and then walking out Carrie's backdoor across their shared backyard and into her Debbie's back door to share a meal with mom. They share more than that with us. It's like sitting on their living room couch and going thru the family album, warts and all. How were they able to live thru all their tribulations? Maybe that they learned to talk about it and deal with it instead of letting if fester and burst inside. And there was laughter, and stories about other celebrities and other heartaches. But what I liked most was their humanity towards each other and that unsinkable spirit that kept them going until all energy was gone from them. What I liked least about it was these two wonderful women should have know the damage drugs, alcohol and cigarettes would do and avoided them. I heard Carrie drank up to 16 Cokes a day and I wonder if the Coke connection with her father had something to do with her addiction to sodas. And Debbie could have had someone to stop her from performing until she was ready to drop. I know it was her choice but they both could have been saved from themselves by their friends. Thank you ladies for all that you gave and shared and God Bless Todd now alone
I enjoyed this documentary very much, having been a huge fan of Debbie
Reynolds my whole life. When I was young, my mother used to take me to
see all of her movies, and the first time I was ever in a movie
theater, I saw "Bundle of Joy", one of my favorites.
However, the most enjoyable part of this documentary for me was the opening credits (if I remember correctly) when they were playing a recording of Eddie Fisher, Carrie and Todd's father. I didn't recognize the song, but I was totally moved by his beautiful voice. Voices like that are very rare, and it just saddens me that with the usual fall into obscurity for performers, as Carrie Fisher points out, it made a more rapid decline in his case due to his personal life choices. Yet, for just a few moments, I could be enraptured and carried away by the sound of his beautiful voice and musicality.
Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2016)
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
It's funny how events that happen before a movie's release can change the way you view it. A great example is THE CROW where Brandon Lee was killed during the production and this left a rather morbid atmosphere over an already dark movie. When you view BRIGHT LIGHTS, the documentary about the relationship between Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher, you can't help but know the tragic turn of events that happened before this aired on HBO. It's even more uncanny when one of the earliest moments in the film has Carrie asking her mom about her will.
With that said, this is an extremely good and very entertaining documentary that traces both ladies rise in Hollywood. We learn about Reynolds career, how she got involved in Eddie Fisher, the birth of their two children and of course what followed. With Fisher we learn about her relationship with her parents, her rise in STAR WARS and of course the drug addiction and depression. From here we also get to meet Todd Fisher and get some wonderful moments with him and, in one of the film's highlights, his poster collection, which he uses to tell his life story.
BRIGHT LIGHTS is certainly a film that fans of the there are going to enjoy as there are some terrific moments captured. There are some great stories told as well as quite a bit of archival footage showing Carrie and Todd when they were children. We also get to see inside the homes of the three, which is a great movie all by itself. Reynolds movie memorabilia collection is also looked at and discussed and we also get some footage of some of her final moments on a stage.
With that said, there's no question that there's a lingering sadness that surrounds the film. There are some uncanny moments that will certainly make you think to the events that happened towards the end of Carrie and Debbie's lives. In a weird way, what happened to Debbie is a lot more understandable once you see this film and see how close the two of them were.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Get out your hankies, Carrie and Debbie are together again, along with
Heat Miser, aka George S. Irving, their "Irene" co-star who died the
same week they did. "Tsumommy", as Carrie calls the wonderful eccentric
lady she calls mom, someone my mom had introduced me to at under 10
years of age. Every year was either Molly Brown or Sister Anne or both.
"Oh just do what mom says. It makes life easier", Debbie says, and if
my mom said this, I'd do it just out of respect, more for the memory of
those Sunday evenings of long ago. Or perhaps the memory of seeing
Debbie on stage from the third row of the orchestra at the Pantages in
"The Unsinkable Molly Brown", balling my eyes out within her vision
during "I Ain't Down Yet". Add in seeing Carrie in "Wishful Drinking"
at Studio 54, and I think I know these people, whom I really don't.
It is with great love that Carrie shows off everything personal in her life, and it is much about Carrie as it is Debbie. There's also Todd Fisher and his beautiful wife Catherine Hickland, a soap opera star I've known in screen since I was 20 on "Capitol", following her to both "Loving" and "One Life to Live" where she played wonderful vixens. Carrie, immortalized as both a pez dispenser and a blow up doll, has been a champion of saying, "Hey, I'm messed up and I know it, and there's nothing I can do about it, so I'll deal with it, and the world just needs to get over it." It is obvious that they love their fans, but the longing to be themselves in quiet dignity as just mom and daughter is there, even if they are immortalized on screen as Meryl and Shirley in "Postcards from the Edge".
Christmas 2016 was a downer with their sudden deaths, and in watching this, I have hope for their souls. Drugs schmugs, I say to the detractors who dismiss Carrie for her addiction. She's funny, honest, real, easy going, complicated. Imagine if this was the Judy/Liza or Lorna syndrome, Janet Leigh or Jamie Lee Curtis, but with Carrie, it's just honesty from start to finish. Debbie is so vibrant on stage, so when they deal with her aging, it is heartbreaking, and these last few weeks were like losing my own mom, not something I've gone through yet, but a reminder of what you must do to prepare for that time. I cherish those moments I shared with my mom watching "Molly Brown" and "The Singing Nun", her memory of going to see "Molly" with her mother in law (my beloved late grandmother) at Radio City Music Hall and my seeing live with her sly wink towards me after seeing me weep, and later seeing the film on the big screen at the Egyptian. It must be said that for younger fans, if Debbie Reynolds is known as Princess Leia's mother, that makes her a queen.
As some other critics have noted, it's sort of like Grey Gardens lite,
but I have to wonder if any/everyone who wrote about this following
it's New York Film Festival premiere (or any other fest screenings)
have to revisit their opinions following the final sucker-punch
celebrity deaths of Fisher followed by Reynolds in 2016.
I'm of two minds on this: yes, there may not be too much different in seeing these natural-born-entertainer-Characters (though Reynolds more-so, they can't seem to help breaking out into song, and usually they both know the words), and no, there is a sadder pall on everything knowing they're gone and, as the Rolling Stones sang, 'This could be the last time, maybe the last time, I don't know,' and we do know for Reynolds it is and for Fisher (who mentions she's off to shoot Force Awakens and is shooting it during the filming of the doc) it is too.
In a way though it's about a mother and daughter, the through-line is really about Reynolds and her long, winding goodbye to entertainment; she does a concert to a large sports-style auditorium, and while she's not singing badly one can see the lights are trying to hide that the auditorium is not full and how she can barely get down the stairs from the stage. But she can't stop/won't stop, so who knows if her "final" show in Las Vegas, where she requests Carrie to come on stage to sing (with, as Carrie shows, awkwardly scripted banter for them to do).
The question through much of what is a scattered-in-structure document of two people at a particular time looking back at things is: how do you ever end being "you", whether that's Debbie Reynolds or Carrie Fisher? There are some scenes that are extraneous, if I can step back and look at it critically as a documentary. Even at 93 minutes it may be too long. But you can't escape how meaningful this is now seeing it with the context of knowing this is a tribute to these wonderful people as much as it's a document of their relationship. It's both, really, and you know for all the pain that they've caused each other, with Postcards from the Edge as a prime example of their contentious moments, there's real love and friendship. Not to mention there's brother/son Todd Fisher, the brother who may be *weirder* in some ways (with his movie posters chronicling how his parents started out and then came together and split apart, and his Knight Rider car which is simply WTF), on the sidelines, part of it but too "normal" as a nice little boy who grew up around all this.
So if you like or even have some passing admiration for Reynolds, who seems like a born entertainer but really did have to work at it (being naturally beautiful helped too, but being molded by the MGM studio system was the key - as someone here says, maybe Carrie, she couldn't help but be 'on' all the time), and Fisher, who struggled for years with bi-polar disorder and a host of other addictions and ailments to still be around for her, and the mother for her daughter. Along the way there are nice 'cameos' from Griffin Dunne (who introduces himself at the foot of Fisher's stairs yelling, "hey, f***face" with affection), and Barbara Streisand on the TV.
PS: No, really, a Knight Rider car? Really? PPS: The footage of Fisher at a convention doesn't quite sync up to what she wrote about in her book, The Princess Diarist, but why carp?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After seen this Documentary I am actually surprised she lived until
Christmas time (2016): Smoking, had a lit cigarette in her hand at
every stop. Her drug history, which she shared freely with the camera.
Self pity, okay Eddie Fisher seems like a piece of work but she never
failed to blame people around her for her unhappiness. But mostly her
fragile looking body. No, 60 is not the new 40; but that hunched over
diseased look placed Carrie well beyond her 60 chronological years of
Throw all that together with a 9 hour jet plane ride and I think it could have happened to a lot of others.
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