Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Postcards from the Edge (1990)

Pretty damn successful chick flick written by Carrie Fisher and directed by the terrifically talented Mike Nichols. This one concerns an estranged mother and daughter that are forced to live together, and thus reach a sort of transcendental bond that makes both of them better people. That sounds terribly lame and unappealing to a cock-carrying viewer, right? Well there are several crucial elements going for it. Number 1: The mother and daughter are played by Shirly Maclaine and Meryl Streep, respectively. Number 2: The mother and daughter are supposed to represent Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher herself. Number 3: The supporting cast includes Dennis Quaid, Richard Dreyfus, Gene Hackman, Oliver Platt, and Annette Bening. They all rock ass, especially Quaid as a slick-talking womanizer, and Hackman as a director beating a good performance out of the drug-addled Streep.

Princess Leia can write; the dialogue in this one is pretty sharp, and the relationship between the mother and daughter is very well developed and, for the most part, void of cliches. Mike Nichols, when given a good script, is one of the best in the business, and his touch is evident here in this view of Hollywood from the perspective of a third generation actress, for whom the glitz and glamor is all a facade, and a tired facade at that. If the movie is less than perfect, it is because sometimes it does fall into the trap of being a 90's era Fried Green Tomatoes-esque feminine righteousness film (not surprising, given Fisher's rep), and betrays its universal, non-exclusive appeal. Which is a shame, because there are not enough "chick flicks" that can work for both men and women, and this is very close to being one of them.

Recommended for showbiz junkies, Streep or Maclaine fans, or...chicks I guess. I enjoyed it very much, but no perfect marks due to too many inevitably sappy, estrogen-soaked moments. Even so, as evidenced in several scenes here, no estrogen in the world stands a chance against...HACKMAN!!

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