Carrie Fisher passed away on Tuesday. Debbie Reynolds passed away yesterday. The natural movie you should be watching is Postcards From The Edge, Mike Nichols’ adaptation of Carrie Fisher’s fictional novel that parallels her relationship with Debbie Reynolds, played by Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine respectively. The second movie you should be watching is Carrie Fisher’s love letter to her mother, These Old Broads, starring Debbie Reynolds, Shirley MacLaine, Elizabeth Taylor, and Joan Collins. But, both of these are pay-to-rent on a variety of platforms.
Instead I’m bringing you my actual nightmare, Mother. Albert Brooks is a neurotic mess of a human being who has no idea how to function with human beings. After he finalizes his second divorce, he moves in with his mother, whose love directly drives his neuroses. This movie just hits a little too close to home. When my mother and I are in close quarters for more than a week, she starts subtly trying to control and I start pushing back and…yeah, this movie is a stunningly hilarious film that wryly observes human interactions with a bitterly incisive wit.
Debbie Reynolds is a classic Hollywood star. In Mother, she goes toe-to-toe with Albert Brooks, dishing out manipulation as good as Brooks can give. Reynolds has always held her own among men throughout her career, starting with her first lead role in Singin’ In The Rain, when she was 19. There, she danced right along with Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor, matching them step by step in numbers like Good Morning.
But, for me, Debbie Reynolds has been Carrie Fisher’s mother first, and movie star second. They had a tumultuous relationship, but they seemed to work things out by the end. Their interview together in 2011 on Oprah shows just how much Reynolds absolutely loves her daughter. She wants to protect her, support her, and help her in every way possible. Even if they spent parts of their life fighting like cats and dogs, they ended up needed each other. My mother used to sing Good Morning to wake me up for school when I was a kid. She never provided me the reference to Singin’ in the Rain, which I discovered when I was in college. Debbie Reynolds was in my life before I even knew who she was. I’m so glad we had her for as long as we did.