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Rated 3.03 stars
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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
A Mother/Daughter Love Story
by Betty Jo Tucker

As a fan of Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher, I want to thank HBO, Fisher Stevens, Alexis Bloom and Todd Fisher for Bright Lights, a poignant documentary revealing how the lives of these two iconic showbiz stars were so tenderly intertwined. It may be difficult to watch at times because of Debbie and Carrie's recent passing, but this unusual film emerges as a marvelous tribute to its wonderful subjects. Bright Lights includes clips from movies and performances as well as real-life interactions between Debbie and Carrie. And it’s nice to see Todd Fisher (Debbie’s son; Carrie’s brother) also getting into the act.

I’ve followed the career of Debbie and her family for many years, but this documentary contains a few delightful surprises. For example, there’s Carrie’s beautiful singing voice and Debbie’s disappointment about Carrie not wanting to be a singer. If you haven’t heard a 15-year-old Carrie warble “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” you are in for a real treat while watching Bright Lights. And there’s Debbie’s refusal to “retire” completely in her 80s -- even with health problems. How she loved to perform!

Fortunately, Carrie usually comes to the rescue to help her famous mom. During the last few years, the two lived next door to each other. The documentary shows Debbie and Carrie in their respective -- but very different -- abodes. Their conversations are filled with witticisms, and they often break into old familiar songs. It’s abundantly clear how much they love each other -- despite any past conflicts or personality differences. Carrie’s cynical humor and Debbie’s less sarcastic approach seem to blend nicely here.  

One of the most revealing segments shows what was involved leading up to the night Debbie received the Screen Actors Guild’s (SAG) Lifetime Achievement Award. Carrie’s worry about her mother while they are getting ready for the event is absolutely heartbreaking.

My one complaint about Bright Lights has to do with the scene where Carrie talks about the loss of her virginity. It doesn’t seem to fit in this otherwise splendid documentary. (But maybe that’s just my inner church lady talking.)  

Don’t worry, Princess Leia from Star Wars and Kathy Selden from Singin’ in the Rain. We won't forget you!   


Mother and daughter passed away.

But brightest stars they’ll always stay.


Debbie and Carrie earned a place

in our hearts that can’t be erased.


Their talent and wit made them great.

Entertainment became their fate.


Lucky are we who’ve seen their glow

which now shines on in TIMELESS flow.


Rest in peace, dear Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher.

(Released by Home Box Office; not rated by MPAA.)

For more information about Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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