This weekend I had the privilege of volunteering for the Athena Film Festival at Barnard, a film festival dedicated to showing films starring and made by women, and I helped with a screening of the film Bright Lights, a documentary about Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds both had so much talent and also lived such interesting lives, and we are lucky that they made the decision to share more about themselves in this very personal documentary which now happened to be released after both of their sudden deaths last December. After the movie ended, the creators of the film spoke a few words and shared some anecdotes about Carrie, which I will share here.
1. Coke was her favorite drink
This one might be obvious to anyone who is big fan of Carrie because she was hardly ever seen without a Coca-Cola in her hand. Her father, Eddie Fisher, was even known as the Cola-Cola Kid when he helped advertise for them. Even in the scene of the movie where Carrie was trying to lose weight for Star Wars she is seen drinking a Coke. The creators said that if they tried to give her Diet Coke or a Pepsi product she wouldn't take it. She would only drink Coca-Cola.
2. Although she was ok with sharing many aspects of her personal life, some were difficult
There is a scene in the movie where Carrie is taking care of her late father. According to the creators, during a screening last year at Lincoln Center, Carrie had to walk out during that scene because it was too painful.
3. Carrie's manic episodes made her generous
One of the women who created the film shared that because of bipolar disorder, sometimes when Carrie was in the manic stage she would go on massive shopping sprees. This meant that she would come with tons of shopping bags and lots of unnecessary items. But one story that one of the creators of the film shared is that once she ended up with Carrie in a jewelry shop and she ended up purchasing about 50 items. However, they were not all for her. She claimed that probably 46/50 were for other people, including the people who worked in the store! One of the salespeople told Carrie a pair of earrings she bought were her favorite, so Carrie gave them back to her personally right after paying!
4. She was well-read
The creators pointed out that even though she didn't go to college, she was one of the most well-read people that they knew.
5. It is possible that she agreed to make the film because she thought her mother was not going to live a lot longer
The creators said that she never claimed this so it could be false, but they perceived that one of the reasons Carrie agreed to make the film was because she thought her mother was so wonderful and interesting and wanted to have something to preserve her by after she died. They also said that they did not think Carrie would have agreed to make the film if it had just been about her.
Whatever reason they decided to make the film, it was so wonderful to watch because both women were true feminist icons. Debbie did not let her failed marriages stop her from having a successful career which she continued to build with her collections and Vegas shows up until her death, and she always supported her daughter even through all the difficulties. Carrie showed people the importance of not taking life too seriously and to look beyond the stigma of mental illness. Both of them are truly missed.