|Carrie Fisher is one of the most unforgettable actresses of this generation. After her involvement in about six movies of the cult classic “Star Wars,” some people are inclined to claim that they know her / Photo by: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons|
Carrie Fisher is one of the most unforgettable actresses of this generation. After her involvement in about six movies of the cult classic “Star Wars,” some people are inclined to claim that they know her. In reality, does anybody? And how was it that while she seemed to be honest about herself even in the limelight, some of her most obvious problems still went over our heads?
Her line of autobiographies, punctuated by her irreverent and spunky sense of humor and her ability to punch up any dialogue for comedic effect, actually tell us what kind of life she led, what kind of pressure she was under and how it all contributed to her messy, but still well-lived life.
Between “Postcards from the Edge” and “Shockaholic”
From the start, the charm of Carrie was always her unwavering honesty. Sure, her irreverent sense of humor made for that glorious 6-minute-roast she did of “Star Wars” creator George Lucas, but other than that, her humor was actually something she used to deal with the many sources of pressure littered in her life.
According to Cheat Sheet, there was initial confusion as to whether these pressures were even real. It sounds a little cruel to want to know a woman through her autobiography and then dismiss her accounts, but the entertainment news website Cheat Sheet said that most of the confusion did not stem from the accounts themselves so much as the ambiguous dubbing of the book as a “semi-autobiographical novel.”
|Carrie’s account of electroconvulsive therapy in her books also illuminated how we still needed to reframe the way we think about mental illness / Photo by: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons|
Whether or not some of it was made up, the movie that Fisher birthed from the same novel, with the help of director Mike Nichols and Meryl Streep acting opposite her, “Postcards from the Edge” was lauded as “one of the bravest attempts at depicting addiction and recovery while living in Hollywood,” which also means it can be “uncomfortable to watch at times due to its brutal honesty.”
From addiction to therapy for her bipolar disorder, not to mention all while trying not to break under the unimaginable pressure from being Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher’s daughter, Carrie also showed in “Shockaholic” how her mental health journey has been like. It was a bestseller, not necessarily for the critics, but it was wonderful in ways that were now helpful.
Carrie’s account of electroconvulsive therapy in her books also illuminated how we still needed to reframe the way we think about mental illness, something that she had been outspoken about ‘till the end when she came back to star in the new sequels of Star Wars.
From “The Princess Diarist” and “Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge”
This coming December will mark three years of Carrie Fisher’s passing, but her memory lives on. In her final autobiography, “The Princess Diarist” is where Carrie truly went introspective, unearthing diary entries she kept “all the way back to her youngest days.” She also gave an honest recount of her time in Star Wars, how she apparently “had a brief affair with Harrison Ford” during the filming of Star Wars, how she was forced to lose weight, and at the same time, she was also sexually harassed by the movie’s production staff.
It definitely casts a grim shadow over something so many people loved, but alas, it was reality. One problem Carrie also had with her role as Leia was finding a way to “embrace” the role “without letting it consume her.”
In a biographical account of Sheila Weller, which the Fisher family don’t acknowledge, Carrie still shines through as someone who is both deeply flawed and therefore human. Carrie, if she was still alive, would want nothing more.
In a review by SFGate, a Hearst-owned sister-site to San Francisco Chronicle, Carrie’s life was very much public at an early age. Between her parents' divorce, her father leaving them for Elizabeth Taylor, and all while Carrie was but a toddler, everything contributed to her tumultuous Hollywood life, which then only continued when she too reached adulthood.
Sure, she was a daughter born to privilege, but her mental health problems are shared by so many of us, which is why her struggles were so relatable, and perhaps her family life too, which frankly leaves much to be desired.
The Woman, the Writer, the Princess, the General
To many people, Carrie is a different version of herself. But she is always more than those versions of herself at the same time. According to her daughter Billie Lourd, Carrie once told her excitedly how “The Rise of Skywalker” was going to be “her movie.”
The hand of fate might have had other plans for that but Billie is no less convinced it would still be hers in the end. According to IndieWire, Billie becomes candid about her mother in an essay for TIME Magazine, where she admitted a rather reminiscent struggle that Carrie herself had when she was younger.
Billie said, “As a child, I couldn’t understand why people loved Leia as much as they did. I didn’t want to watch her movie, I didn’t want to dress up like her, I didn’t even want to talk about her. I just wanted my mom–the one who lived on Earth, not Tatooine.”
She came to realize that Leia and Carrie are not any different. After enduring the swarm of hate that Carrie got when she returned to Star Wars for simply being older than she was back in 1977, Carrie ignored it all, saying that the clarity of mind she had now for playing Leia had been the secret of her becoming a more wizened character, and being a beloved one no matter what.
It’s just like Lor San Tekka said, what we were all thinking: “The General? To me she’s royalty.”
|To many people, Carrie is a different version of herself. But she is always more than those versions of herself at the same time / Photo by: Sami Keinänen via Flickr|