Pop Culture Intervention

12 Life Lessons We Learned From Carrie Fisher And Debbie Reynolds' 'Bright Lights'

The poignant documentary is full of laughter and heartbreak.

As family, friends, and fans continue to mourn the deaths of Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds, HBO released its documentary about the pair on January 7, two months ahead of its original March 2017 debut. Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds documents the unique relationship between Fisher and Reynolds from — among other performances and appearances — the family "compound," where they live next door to each other. Carrie's brother Todd Fisher also appears to round out the story of this eccentric family of Hollywood royalty.

The touching film has its brighter and darker moments as it covers the lives of the two women from Reynolds' start in show business, to Fisher's rise to fame and its subsequent consequences to Reynolds' acceptance of the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. Below, find our favorite pieces of wisdom in the film from these two true Hollywood gems.


1.Manage your expectations.

"If you can, make people smile a little, laugh a little, just enjoy themselves for a moment. It's not MacBeth, you know," Reynolds says backstage at  South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas before one of her final shows.

2. Make sure you're in a relationship for the right reasons.

"I should have married Burt Reynolds. Then I wouldn't have had to change my name," Reynolds jokes during the show.

Photo Credit: Bright Lights / HBO Documentary Films

3. Know your strengths.

"I'm going to stay on stage until I drop dead," Reynolds utters during the opening sequence of the film.

4. And your weaknesses.

"Age is horrible for all of us, but she falls from a greater height," Fisher says of her mother.

5. Family really is everything.

"My family, in particular, could overwhelm most people," Todd says while explaining life in a Hollywood family.

6. Make sure to ask the important questions.

"My question is, if you die when you're fat, do you come back a fat ghost? Or do they pick a more flattering time?" Fisher asks during a workout session.

7. Sometimes, you have to wait for what you really want.

"I used to be funny for you because I thought that if I was really funny, you would want to be around me all the time. I would make myself wonderful for your return. See, and it finally paid off," Fisher tells her father, Eddie Fisher, while taking care of him before his death in 2010.

Photo Credit: Bright Lights / HBO Documentary Films.

8. Take a break from work every once in a while.

"If you're going to retire, retire. She retires and books an engagement in Vegas," Fisher says of her mother.

9. Perspective is everything.

"It's not my best day. But we've had other days that are worse ... have we?" Reynolds asks the filmmakers during an interview in which everything seems to go wrong, including someone setting off the home alarm. 

10. You are stronger than you know.

"The only you make it through life is to fight. You don't get there the easy way. If you feel sorry for yourself and let yourself go down, you'll drown," Reynolds says in a voiceover during a scene in Las Vegas.

Photo Credit: Bright Lights / HBO Documentary Films.

11. You will meet people that you will never forget.

"I like Christmas. I like the lights … my mom, she is Christmas. She's something special," Fisher says.

12. Because you know they'll always be there for you.

"I think I'm my mom's best friend, more than a daughter," Fisher says.

At A Plus, we're addicted to pop culture, and Pop Culture Intervention brings that obsession to the soapbox. Through this series, we'll recommend what you should be watching, reading or listening to; explore how arts and entertainment affect us; and interpret the important messages contained within various works.


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