Following the deaths of Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds within days of each other in December 2016, this was a much-anticipated documentary on the pair. Aired in the United States and Australia simultaneously, Bright Lights: Starring Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher is the story of the family’s complicated love and paints a beautifully tender portrait of the mother-daughter duo.
If you’ve ever had a close relationship with a parent or a child, perhaps you could relate to some of the goings on.
The touching documentary looked at the relationship the two Hollywood icons shared, how they coped with fame and how they managed their lives in the spotlight over several decades.
Reynolds and Fisher were laid to rest in a joint ceremony at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles on January 6. On January 5 they were honoured in a private memorial service attended by celebrities including Meryl Streep, Eric Idle and Ellen Barkin.
The documentary started with Carrie carrying some food over to her mother’s house. While they lived in separate houses, they shared the same piece of land — affectionately referred to as ‘the compound’. Fisher’s delightful sense of humour was on display for all to see when she uttered the words: “I usually come to her,” before pausing and then adding: “I always come to her.”
You were also exposed to Reynolds’ avid collecting of movie memorabilia, said to be one of the largest collections in the world at one time. You couldn’t help but be moved when son, Todd, had to conduct a series of auctions in recent years to offset the debt accrued by having such an assortment of Hollywood treasures.
In one of the more shocking sequences, Reynolds is injured prior to one of the auctions when a fall to the floor of her home causes massive bruising to her face.
“When we saw her we were all in horror, because we were like, ‘Wait a second, you could have broke your neck and be dead right now’,” Todd Fisher said.
However, not even bruising could keep Reynolds from the public.
“I suspect she’s going to show up to the parties and pretend like nothing happened, which is what she does well,” Fisher said.
The documentary is a wonderful reminder of just how famous both Reynolds, who appeared in the musical hit Singing in the Rain and recorded the hit ‘Tammy’, and Fisher were. But it wasn’t just their talent that was a focus for viewers, as you were exposed to the tale of how Eddie Fisher (that’s Carrie’s and Todd’s dad) ran off with Elizabeth Taylor, who was supposedly Debbie Reynolds’ good friend, as well as Fisher’s bi-polar disorder and drug use.
If nothing else, Bright Lights made it painfully clear for anyone watching that Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds really couldn’t live without one another.