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Postcards from the Edge

Carrie Fisher is a very good writer. I've read Surrender the Pink, Delusions of Grandma and her first, most famous, most autobiographical Postcards from the Edge. I can't remember if I saw the movie first or read the book. Anyway...

The movie - much more so than the book - is really about the relationship between the Fisher character, Suzanne Vale and her mother, Debbie Reynolds in real life, Doris Mann in the fiction. Which is a good thing because whenever Shirley MacLaine breezes in it's like an invigorating sandstorm.

Meryl Streep demonstrates that she's so much effective when she plays the humour straight than when she's playing humour for laughs (like in Death Becomes Her). Postcards is a dramedy so it's important to ground the humour anyway, but it just proves that she's funnier when she's serious than when she's hamming it up. She does inform Vale with some Streepisms - certain inflections and tilts of the head or what-have-you, but it doesn't detract from her characterisation of the neurotic, wounded, witty actor/daughter.

The film loves to peel back the curtain of movie making and plays these moments mostly for laughs. But it does make a point about separating reality from artifice. And in the climactic scene the device - in this case the application of makeup - evokes pathos.

The rambling audio commentary by Carrie Fisher is fascinating. Just like her on-screen counterpart Fisher is witty (if not as polished... think of her extemporaneous comments as a first draft!), insecure and intensely revealing. What surprised me is how many details of the film are based on fact. I thought only the broad strokes were autobiographical.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 13, 2005 11:40 AM.

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