A hard look into the background of Hollywood and the movie kingdom. Meryl Strepp plays the part of a drug addicted actress, though good at her job she finds the lure of cocaine just a little friendlier. While visiting the bed of a lover (Dennis Quaid), she OD's and he whips her off to the hospital. In the hospital she is romanced by her doctor Richard Dreyfuss.
Of course, the entire problem with her life stems from her overbearing, used to be successful, alcoholic mother played by Shirley MacLaine, which is explored by her psychiatrist CCH Pounder, who practices on the cliche theory.
When released from the hospital, she must return the home of her mother as all feel she isn't stable enough to be on her own. Well if you have ever left home for an extended period and then returned, you pretty much know the Hell this lady is going through on top of her other problems. Forced to constant drug tests by her director (Gene Hackman), Strepp now faces another Hell, making movies without the fall back of her cocaine buddy.
Throwing a party for her daughters return, MacLaine breaks into a song that turns more into a competition between them than a real performance. In slinky dress and campy actions, she breaks into "I'm Still Here" while Strepp suffers in the front row watching her antics. Actually it was a decent performance by MacLaine who, back before she found herself, was known for her kinky high jinks and outrageous actions.
In the meantime, Quaid resurfaces wanting to woo the ever fragile Strepp and she becomes involved with him for a while until she discovers she is just to become another notch on the headboard of his bed. A truly funny scene in their breakup.
A constantly changing story with too many story lines involved. You don't know who is the hero and who is the bad guy nor do you know who to root for in this comedy/drama. Nichols unfortunately robs Strepp of her ability to overcome her addiction, and her mother, by making her bow to the endorsement of Hackman. In addition, you generally know how the relationship between mother and daughter will progress from the beginning whereas I would have liked to see a better conclusion - like her busting MacLaine in the chops - to this.
Characters are never fully developed and for the most part MacLaine overshadows Strepp with her gaudiness and blatant need to be centerstage. As a perk, we are introduced to Strepps' fine singing voice, something she seldom gets to exercise in her works. Hackman, as usual, is overbearing and pointless in his role. Not that I am turning thumbs down on this flick, in fact for the most part I found it enjoyable.
Stars: Meryl Strepp, Shirley MacLaine, Dennis Quaid, Richard Dreyfuss, Gene Hackman, Rob Reiner, Annette Bening, and CCH Pounder
Easily worth the time. It turns out that it is more Shirley MacLaine's movie -- Meryl Streep is great but the movie just seemed to tilt toward the doyenne. Still, Ms. Streep singing, "You Don't Know Me" is a higholight of the first third of the film.
In this adaptation of Carrie Fisher's semiautobiographical novel, an actress struggles to kick her drug addiction while coming to terms with her domineering mother. Suzanne Vale (Meryl Streep) has grown up as the spoiled daughter of famous Hollywood star Doris Mann (Shirley MacLaine). Although she has talent, Suzanne can't seem to get out from under her mother's shadow. The two women have grown apart, but they're forced back together again after Suzanne has a near-fatal overdose. Because of Suzanne's drug problem, the insurers of the film she's working on make her stay with someone who can keep an eye on her during production. As a result, Suzanne winds up moving back home with her mother--which might not be ideal, considering Doris's addiction to booze. Director Mike Nichols guides an all-star cast (that also includes Gene Hackman, Richard Dreyfuss, Rob Reiner, and Annette Bening) through this entertaining look at the dark side of showbiz.