Postcards From The Edge
Method: In a randomised-controlled trial (Zelen design) conducted in Newcastle, Australia, eight postcards were sent to participants over a 12-month period. The principal outcomes were the proportion of participants with one or more repeat episodes of self-poisoning and the number of repeat episodes per person.
Postcards from the Edge
Results: The proportion of repeaters with deliberate self poisoning in the intervention group did not differ significantly from that in the control group (57/378, 15.1%, 95% confidence interval 11.5% to 18.7% v 68/394, 17.3%, 13.5% to 21.0%: difference between groups -2%, -7% to 3%). In unadjusted analysis the number of repetitions were significantly reduced (incidence risk ratio 0.55, 0.35 to 0.87).
In the opening scenes of "Postcards from the Edge," a new comedy based on Carrie Fisher's journey through addiction, this feeling is evoked so well that you begin to suffer along with the film's heroine, played by Meryl Streep. Then the movie forgets its original impulse and turns into a comedy of manners.
Streep plays this character with a kind of defiant sweetness that recalls the late Irene Dunne. She is not a bad person, and she doesn't want to cause trouble for anybody, but her drug usage has befuddled her to the point where she's not much use. Her mother (Shirley MacLaine) is also a basket case - a maintenance alcoholic who is never far from her glass of chilled white wine. But because wine is socially acceptable and drugs are not, the mother is able to deny her problem while lecturing her daughter to the point of distraction. Meanwhile, MacLaine's latest husband sleeps most of the time, possibly as a way of avoiding his wife's voice.
Suzanne barely gets through her latest film. She is obviously on the edge of a crackup. And after another misadventure, she ends up in a rehab center, where her mother comes to visit and basks in the applause of her recovering fans. It's here that the movie takes the wrong turn, into a domestic show-biz comedy that plays up the mother-daughter rivalry at the cost of its original subject, drugs in show business.
Streep is very funny in the movie; she does a good job of catching the knife-edged throwaway lines that have become Carrie Fisher's speciality. And director Mike Nichols captures a certain kind of difficult reality in his scenes on movie sets, where the actress is pulled this way and that by people offering helpful advice. Everyone wants a piece of a star, even a falling one.
What's disappointing about the movie is that it never really delivers on the subject of recovery from addiction. There are some incomplete, dimly seen, unrealized scenes in the rehab center, and then desultory talk about offscreen AA meetings. But the film is preoccupied with gossip; we're encouraged to wonder how many parallels there are between the Streep and MacLaine characters and their originals, Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.
Half the people in Hollywood seem to have gone through recovery from drugs and alcohol by now. And yet no one seems able to make a movie that's really about the subject. Do they think it wouldn't be interesting? Any movie that cares deeply about itself - even a comedy - is interesting. It's the movies that lack the courage of their convictions, the ones that keep asking themselves what the audience wants, that go astray.
All participants and clinical and research staff were blind to outcome, with data extraction done five months after completion of the study period. Only the recruiting toxicologists and secretary responsible for managing the mailing database and postcards were not blind to the allocation status.
Replications of this study and additional effectiveness trials would be necessary before considering widespread implementation. Our decision to include a subgroup analysis on the basis of sex was a retrospective one based on the findings from the primary outcomes. Caution is needed in interpreting such subgroup analyses because of (unplanned) reduced sample sizes, and judgment needs to be exercised regarding the biological plausibility of such analyses.
The difference in total repetitions for deliberate self poisoning came from one main source; women with three or more repeat episodes (table 3), which accounted for a difference of 94 repeat episodes (125 by control participants and 31 by intervention participants). This was a surprising result as we expected that women multiple repeaters would be relatively unresponsive to such a simple intervention. Our low cost intervention can be applied to almost all adult patients with hospital treated deliberate self poisoning and can be used without identifying patients at high risk of repetition.
In a stunning literary debut, Carrie Fisher chronicles the excruciatingly funny adventures of Suzanne Vale, young film star and drug addict, who survives a rehab clinic only to rejoin the equally harrowing world of Hollywood. Out there on the edge, despair flips into hilarity, and we're left laughing as Suzanne struggles to come to terms with her various fantasylands. Carrie Fisher's reading of her first novel evokes the deliciously irreverent humor that formed the lens through which she looked at life in the '80s - stardom, drugs, success, sex, and insecurity.
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Suzanne is back on the set, all which were shot at Warner Bros. in Burbank, California. She first wanders outside onto the western set, which is no longer in existence at the studio and is now called Warner Village. I have a couple shots from one of my first visits that I've included for reference.
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Movies about show business start out with a tough handicap: Savant doesn't like 'em. The more they try and tell it like it is, 'bout da biz, the worse they get. Postcards from the Edge is pretty impressive. This was one of the crowning pictures of Meryl Streep's decade-long run of solid hits, and she and Shirley MacLaine manage to portray spoiled Hollywood women, and actually make us like them. Not that they'd be any easier to live with..
Postcards from the Edge is a deft and assured skewering of Hollywood clichés about Hollywood that shows Mike Nichols at his most self-assured best. He apparently encouraged actress Carrie Fisher to write the screenplay from her novel. It's of course about Fisher's problem of being under the shadow of a mother who happens to be a forceful and demanding star, but the film is so entertaining, knowledge of this is totally unnecessary.
The 'cameo' performances benefit from Nichols' softening touch. Usually associated with farces, Nichols makes Richard Dreyfuss look sincere (not easy), Hackman charming but volatile, and the charming Rob Reiner totally obnoxious. Newcomer Annette Bening has a hilarious scenelet, with the immortal word, 'endolphins.' Whatever. All the casting is excellent. Suzanne's grandparents are an outrageously disruptive pair, just the kind of relatives we all deal with day after day: impossible, killable, but loveable too. The drug issues in Postcards from the Edge are made clear without a lecture in sight. Witty drug humor abounds, such as the gauntlet of OD'd legends that Suzanne passes while on a journey to a dreamland medicine cabinet.
Columbia Tristar's DVD of Postcards from the Edge is their usual superior show. The eleven-year old picture looks pristine, and the delicate sound work is intact. Enjoying this one is not a problem. The disc includes trailers for two other films, but Savant didn't find one for Postcards.
The DVD also has a special treat, a commentary from Carrie Fisher herself, who conversationally cops to all kinds of naughty behavior. Originally Debbie Reynolds was going to play 'herself'. There were also cut scenes with Jerry Orbach as the Father, and John Cusack as a friend from rehab. Fisher is fun to listen to, and very open about her past drug habits. After listening to her, you want to know what a conversation between her and Brenda Vaccaro would sound like. Although Carrie's jokey-bitterness comes through, she's quick to say that the mother character was exaggerated for the purposes of drama: Debbie Reynolds never poured vodka into her breakfast or became a drunk driver.
Meryl Streep played Carrie Fisher in Postcards from the Edge directed by Mike Nichols, Carrie Fisher was in When Harry Met Sally, which was written by Nora Ephron, who wrote Heartburn, which is autobiographical and turned into a movie directed by Mike Nichols, in which Nora Ephron is played by Meryl Streep. Legends only.
The pitch: Based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by Carrie Fisher, "Postcards from the Edge" follows actor Suzanne Vale (Meryl Streep) as she deals with substance abuse issues that land her in rehab. In order to keep her contract with a film studio, Vale must stay sober and live with her mother. The problem is that her mother is Doris Mann (Shirley MacLaine), a former Hollywood A-lister with a love for liquor. Much like Fisher's relationship with her own mother, Debbie Reynolds, Suzanne and Doris love one another but have almost zero understanding of or sympathy for each other. Suzanne just wants out from beneath her mother's shadow, while Doris doesn't understand why her daughter can't just behave and put on a good show. 041b061a72