Coming to HBO tomorrow, Saturday, January 7: BRIGHT LIGHTS: STARRING CARRIE FISHER AND DEBBIE REYNOLDS
Alexis Bloom & Fisher Stevens
Telluride, New York, Chicago, AFI Fest
A portrait of the famed mother/daughter celebrities, who recently died just one day apart.
It’s hard not to watch Bloom and Stevens’ loving film as a bittersweet elegy in the wake of Fisher and Reynolds’ passing, though of course there was no predicting at the time of its making that Fisher, at the least, would be dead just days after Christmas 2016. Reynolds, on the other hand, is shown in the film to be slowing down and experiencing some health concerns, lending an air of prescient urgency to this enjoyable celebrity profile. Bloom and Stevens deftly manage to convey the breadth of both women’s lives and careers, while more intimately capturing the messy but loving bond between them. Living next door to one another, they demonstrate a caring, symbiotic relationship, but they also reference past tensions. This is nicely showcased in an early clip in which Reynolds puts a teenage Fisher on the spot to perform, begrudgingly, speaking to the inescapable complexity that came from growing up with celebrity. Ultimately, however, it’s clear that the two legends had long ago made their peace, and audiences are fortunate to have this bouncy, entertaining chronicle of their lives together.