Of all the celebrity who passed away in 2016, Carrie Fisher‘s death just two days after Christmas was one of the most heartbreaking. After all, love or hate Star Wars, everyone on the planet knows who Princess Leia is. But then to hear of her mother Debbie Reynolds‘ death, just a day later? Well, that just proved to us all what kind of an affect grief can have on the body.
As devastating as these deaths were — particularly women who watched Fisher and her mother defy Hollywood expectations at every turn — there’s one thing fans can find solace in. Some Bright Lights in this time of darkness, if you will.
That’s the official title of the new HBO Canada documentary, which premieres this weekend. Fisher and Reynolds shot in the film in 2013-14 not knowing just how timely it would be in early 2017, capturing a mother-daughter bond unlike any other we’ve seen — especially in showbiz. It’s no wonder the tagline to this thing is “a different kind of love story.”
While we don’t want to give too much away from the film (except to warn you that tissues should be at the ready), here are a few times we were reminded that Carrie and Debbie were the best mother-daughter duo out there.
They lived in a compound together
Most children grow up and tend to fly the coop — not Carrie. At 60 years old she certainly had her own space, but it was right next door to her mother’s in Beverly Hills. One of the first scenes in the movie shows Fisher bringing her mom a soufflé, explaining that she always goes over to her mom’s, whom she calls a tsu-mommy for basically being unstoppable.
They have the best banter
If the film’s opening, in which Fisher and Reynolds banter back and forth over old home movies, doesn’t get the waterworks going, we don’t know what will. It’s pretty powerful stuff, with the ladies chatting back and forth about childhood, happiness and life. Of course with these ladies it’s all comedically timed, proving that their banter is some of the best.
“I had to capture (your happiness) in case you ever doubted it,” Reynolds explains to her daughter at one point.
They shared a love of dogs
You’d have to be living under a rock not to know about Gary, Fisher’s French Bulldog. She took him everywhere she could and to be honest, it made us love her a little bit more. Well, like mother like daughter, because Reynolds had a shaggy dog named Dwight and it was obvious she loved that pooch too. Both ladies share their silverware with their pups early on in the film, which may be gross to some but it shows how much a part of the family the dogs actually were.
They wore the same shoes
At one point Fisher goes over to her mother’s house and gets giddy because they’re wearing the same wide, sparkly sandals in different colours. When she points out their matching footwear, Reynolds just looks at her daughter and laughs, “You gave them to me. Did you forget already?”
They shared a love of old Hollywood
Walking into Fisher’s house was like walking into another time period. Unlike most posh celebrity pads, every inch of Fisher’s space was crammed with memorabilia, silly knickknacks and reminders from the past. It was a house filled with personality and things the woman loved, which included a ton of old Hollywood. It’s a passion Reynolds shared — the woman once had the largest collection of Hollywood film memorabilia around. She had hoped to start a museum one day and had amassed items like the ruby red slippers from The Wizard of Oz and Marilyn Monroe‘s infamous white dress from The Seven Year Itch. Sadly, those dreams never came to fruition and she wound up auctioning most of it off.
They both loved their fans
Fisher may give her mom a hard time in the film for her inability to say no to a show, but it’s obvious that the fans meant a lot to both of these women. The film captures how Reynolds came alive on a stage, while Fisher attended a fan expo with pretty similar results. Although it’s just a small part of the movie, their respective fandoms were a thing to marvel at.
Their lives revolved around being in the spotlight
Given the large fan bases surrounding the women it’s no wonder that they knew no other life than one in the spotlight. Reynolds became America’s sweetheart when she was just 16 years old, whereas Fisher was performing with her mother from the time she was 13. At one point when the mother and daughter were on a red carpet being interviewed about what it’s like to be on a red carpet together, Fisher wasted no time in quipping, “We are always on a red carpet.”
They knew how to perform together
Here’s something some people may not know about Fisher: she could sing. We mean, really sing. Sure, it was Reynolds who was known for her voice thanks to “Tammy” and “Singing in the Rain,” but Fisher had the chops. Her dad, Eddie Fisher, was a renowned singer after all. Reynolds was always after Fisher to sing more, but Fisher had other ideas growing up. Still, she’d perform every now and then with her mom, including a touching performance in the film that will leave you with chills.
They were best friends
Some may feel they know Fisher and Reynolds’ relationship thanks to Postcards From the Edge, the film Fisher wrote about a mother-daughter relationship in showbiz. But that semi-autobiographical project barely scratched the surface. At the end of the day these ladies were best friends as well as family, and it shows in this film.
“My mother really wants me to be an extension of her wishes and her,” Fisher explains at one point without a hint of disdain or rebellion. In fact, it’s obvious she saw her mother as a force, one who was aging and becoming a shell of her former self — something that was super hard for Fisher to take.
As for mom, the love she had for her daughter was clear throughout the entire movie. But we like to sum it up with this brilliant, unbeatable Debbie Reynolds quote:
“I share everything with my daughter,” she smiles into the camera. “Especially the cheque.”