Coming to Hulu today, Friday, March 12:
Soleil Moon Frye
Hulu (March 2021)
A personal archive reveals the realities of growing up as a child actor in the 1990s.
Soleil Moon Frye became a household name for kids of a certain age when she was cast as the lead of the sitcom PUNKY BREWSTER in 1984. Like other child actors, she grew up in public, and, like many actresses, began to be viewed primarily as a sex object after she hit puberty. Frye’s response – she documented everything. In an age before the ubiquity of self-documentation and social media, Frye picked up a home video camera, saved phone messages, and kept diaries, in the process capturing a raw and intimate sense of what it was like for her – and her many fellow young actors – to grow up as celebrities. For this project, Frye revisits this footage after two decades in an attempt to determine if her memories match the reality, sharing it with friends and relationships from those days. While her philosophical musings are never quite as profound as they might be intended to be, there’s still poignancy to the project that goes beyond 1990s nostalgia, particularly when Frye touches on friends she lost to suicide, such as Jonathan Brandis; when she reflects on how Hollywood’s objectification led to her decision to have breast reduction surgery as a teen; and when she realizes how she rewrote history to soften the impact of a sexual assault. This and more helps the viewer overlook the more clunky elements of the doc to appreciate the rawness and vulnerability that lies beneath.