Adapted by Fisher from her first novel, POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE is yet further proof that Hollywood makes its best films about what it knows best--making films in Hollywood. But while POSTCARDS is entertainingly observant of the filmmaking scene, too much time is taken up with the cliched
mother-daughter drama at the film's core. Continuing in the dark comedy vein she began in SHE DEVIL, Streep, as actress Suzanne Vale, starts at rock bottom. Working on a film, Suzanne is so addled by a cocaine habit that her director, Lowell (Hackman), must threaten her life just to get her
focused. When she overdoses on sedatives while in bed with Jack Falkner (Quaid), the womanizing producer anonymously wheels her into a hospital emergency room. There her stomach is pumped by a doctor (Dreyfuss) who later asks her out on a date. During her rehabilitation, Suzanne must contend with
a therapist (CCH Pounder from BAGDAD CAFE) whose grab-bag of self-help slogans is enough to drive a patient back to drugs. Upon completing her clinical rehab, Suzanne finds she is only able to find work on a low-budget cop movie. She's also required to live with her domineering, alcoholic,
entertainer-mom, Doris (MacLaine playing Debbie Reynolds), the too-obvious cause of Suzanne's problems.
Director Nichols and Fisher manage to slip a few provocative ideas in here. Notably, Suzanne's return to sobriety is hardly rewarding; instead it provides her with a new sensitivity to the apathy and treachery of agents, producers, directors, lovers, and, most importantly, her mother. Suzanne's
personal struggle is also contrasted throughout with Doris's nonstop, unrepentant boozing. The film suggests that sedation is an almost reasonable response to such a crazy life. In the final analysis, POSTCARDS is a mixed bag. There are a number of entertaining moments; however, potentially rich
characters and situations wither from lack of development for the sake of the central relationship, which is never wholly convincing.
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