Adapted by Carrie Fisher from her own semi-autobiographical account of her relationship with her mother Debbie Reynolds, this comedy by Mike Nichols sometimes plays like a mainstream Robert Altman comedy. There’s the overlapping dialogue, the multiple extended cameos by an all-star cast (which includes Rob Reiner, Dennis Quaid and Annette Benning, among many others), and the slice-of-lice structure that defines much of Altman’s oeuvre. Meryl Streep is terrific in the lead role, entirely believable in all her quirks, rat-tat-tat speaking style and mini-meltdowns, and she’s extraordinarily well-matched by a never-better Shirley MacLaine as the movie’s sort-of version of Reynolds. There are a number of profound moments of realization and actualization throughout that are inspiring in their straightforward acceptance of people’s character flaws without excusing them, and Fisher’s trademark charming flippant wit is all over the movie.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)