Posted by Misha Henckel
1. Kate is a commoner. Yep, Kate might be the perfect woman in every respect, to the rest of the world, but to the British royal family, she is just a commoner. Just one of us. This wedding is a huge symbol of change. Prince William is breaking with tradition to follow his heart and wed his beshert. It’s a triumph of the soul and of love. There’s nothing more worth celebrating.
2. Princess Diana would approve. William’s mother, the great Princess Diana, who did so much to challenge the establishment and to bring care and compassion to the suffering would be delighted and would bless the union. I bet she’s dancing around, right now, as she looks down on her first born. He was not afraid to make the right choice.
3. Marriage is a blessing. With so many marriages in the toilet, and the divorce rate at over 50 %, it is rare to see a couple so well matched, so perfectly suited to one another. And it is heart-warming and inspiring that these two found each other, and allowed their connection to flourish. In these times, we need examples of great marriages, and to be reminded that it can work, particularly if the souls fit together.
4. It brings us together. With all the pain, struggle and turmoil of recent years, we are all desperately in need of something we can all celebrate. It’s easy to mock the Brits and their love for the monarchy, but why not just see the beauty of these two youngsters and join in the joy?
5. The dress, duh! Who doesn’t want to see what fashionable Kate will be wearing? She is perfectly stylish, and a true fashion icon. And I’m sure the dress is going to be a real statement. Fashion is art, and art nourishes the soul. So I will be sitting on the edge of my seat for that first glimpse of Kate’s dress, and everything else that she and William will be doing. And to all those who could care less, well they can just stay steeped in their misery. I am happy for this grand excuse to celebrate!
2.13.12 at 12:37 pm | She made our souls dance
1.31.12 at 12:28 am | With excellent and unpredictable choices...
1.22.12 at 5:27 pm | She's teaching us how to fight every single day
1.16.12 at 2:02 pm | No real surprises
11.24.11 at 2:13 pm | This is still the most amazing country in the. . .
11.10.11 at 11:46 am | Sometimes it's not what you do, but what you fail. . .
6.28.11 at 10:39 pm | She's not at all like so many of our political. . . (9)
11.1.11 at 2:43 pm | They're the epitome of success, in a society. . . (9)
4.18.11 at 4:56 pm | And she can thank her lucky stars for that (8)
April 22, 2011 | 12:40 pm
Posted by Misha Henckel
The royal wedding will be seen by more people around the world than any other event in television history. Every major network and quite a few less important ones will be devoting their best reporters, and hours and hours of airtime to the historic event. Forget tsunami-ravaged Japan, people-led revolts in the Arab nations, and the almost hopeless, economic situation here in the US, come April 29th, CNN will have at least 125 reporters on the ground in London, the main anchors camped out in front of Buckingham Palace.
Where are our priorities? Is this massive outlay of resources justifiable? Or have we simply gone royal wedding mad?
If we have, there is good reason. At a time of so much upheaval, tragedy, and human suffering, America, Britain and the rest of the world are all desperately seeking a feel good story, something to celebrate, to believe in, a bit of hope, a fairy tale. And these young, British royals seem to have the answer.
I can remember 1981, when Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer fever gripped the world. Everybody was caught up in that fairy tale. It all seemed so glamorous, so romantic. The prince had finally found his princess. But it was only a fairy tale, a façade. Charles married Diana even though he was in love with someone else. And Diana knew it, but was pressured into following through with the wedding. That someone else, of course, was Camilla Parker Bowles, Charles’ current wife, and clearly his true soul mate.
Can you imagine having to marry someone you do not love because it’s the “right” thing to do? Or watch the person you love marry another, again because it was appropriate or what the royal family required? Or find yourself marrying someone that you know does not love you, and whom you do not love, but you feel like you have no choice?
While the world delighted in the fairy tale, the participants themselves were suffering.
So what about Prince William and Kate Middleton? Is this just another fairy tale? Just fodder for the prying eyes of a desperate world? Is this another marriage where the participants do the “right” thing? Where they just play the role their families and their country want them to play, regardless of how they really feel inside? Is this just a fairy tale or is this a true romance?
The measure of a relationship is in the degree to which the people involved make each other better persons, or not. Do they bring out the best in each other? Do they push each other to grow? Do they “get” each other’s souls? Do they nurture each other?
It looks like William and Kate have something real. She is not at all whom he should be marrying. She is a commoner, a middleclass girl with no links to British nobility. That’s a good start, he’s chosen from the heart. Then there is a true friendship between them that is the basis for the marriage. They have been through much together, over the last ten years. The relationship has been tried and tested and their bond has proven to be very, very strong. It looks very much like they are equals in every respect. And that they make each other stronger, better individuals. Add to that William’s awareness of what his mother suffered, his own compassion and sensitivity, and Kate’s real, inner strength and this thing may actually be a real, true romance that can go the distance.
In the past, royals married for every wrong reason - wealth, power, bloodlines. Perhaps William’s first significant act, as an heir to the British throne, is to be a true example of romance and marriage, one that transcends class, tradition, and bloodlines, and that is simply based in honest, pure, love and friendship.
April 18, 2011 | 4:56 pm
Posted by Misha Henckel
With the wedding of Britain’s Prince William to Kate Middleton just around the corner, the pop culture world is abuzz with comparisons between the princess-to-be and William’s mother, the ever-popular, late Princess Diana. But Kate is no Diana. And for that she can thank her lucky stars. For as beautiful, as caring, and as popular as Diana was, her path was always a challenging one – one that eventually came to an early and most tragic end.
Born into British nobility, Diana was the third daughter of the 8th Earl Spencer. Spencer was a descendent of Charles II, and he himself served as equerry to King George VI and to Queen Elizabeth II. Diana’s maternal grandmother was lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. But it was a family that was tragically dysfunctional. Her parents divorced when Diana was seven, and Diana’s mother, Frances Shand Kydd, lost custody of the children, when her own mother testified that she was an unfit mother. Diana would grow up to be a poor student and prior to her engagement to Prince Charles, at the age of 19, she worked as a nanny.
Kate Middleton on the other hand, comes from decidedly common stock - working class laborers, miners, and the like. Her parents worked for British Airways, her mom - a flight attendant, dad - an airline officer. The Middletons rose to affluence when the online party supplies business they founded, in 1987, became very successful. In secondary school, Kate was a great athlete and an excellent student and went on to the University of St. Andrews to earn an Honors degree in the History of Art. It was here that she would meet William.
Diana may have come from nobility, but it was a nobility fraught with pain, neuroses, and dysfunction. And Diana embodied much of what she came from. It was in spite of her DNA that she became an icon of philanthropy and a force for change within the stagnant, British royal family.
Kate comes from self made people. She is grounded in good, English common sense. She is a strong, young woman who seems, in every way, on equal footing with William. Same age, similar education, true, long-term friendship, looks like everything they need to deeply respect each other. Unlike the situation with Diana, where Charles always had Camilla (Parker Bowles), his soul-mate, in the wings, for William, Kate is the soul mate. And she looks ready to take on whatever the journey brings. I have a feeling she won’t battle away with the Queen, like Diana did. No, Kate would probably get her way with the House of Windsor with far more skill and savvy. After all she is nearly 10 years older than Diana was when she entered the royal family. And a well educated Kate is probably less inclined to be driven by her feelings than the very emotional Diana.
Kate is no Diana, and she can thank her lucky stars for that!
So the million dollar question is: Will things work out for Kate and William? I think they have a much better chance than Diana and Charles ever did. But much remains to be seen.
April 6, 2011 | 11:47 am
Posted by Misha Henckel
It’s the sequel we’ve all been waiting for. And it does not disappoint. When Harry Met Sally 2 matches the spirit and feeling of the original blockbuster hit, and then takes it to the next level. It’s a must see movie, with Billy Crystal, Helen Mirren, Rob Reiner, Maya Rudolph among others. I love that Billy Crystal is still making great art. And Helen Mirren? Well the woman is older, and seriously sexy. I want to be like that when I grow up. Now take a look. My 14 year old daughter, nearly died laughing. Don’t forget to post your comment on this page.
Don’t forget to post your comment below.
April 4, 2011 | 12:44 pm
Posted by Misha Henckel
Charlie Sheen’s My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option tour is off, and well, after a disastrous start, improving. So with 18 cities to go, can this actually work out for him?
After bombing in Detroit, where the fans booed him off the stage, Sheen regrouped, reformatted the show and received a standing ovation at the second stop, Chicago. Surprised? I know most people, after Detroit, felt that this was it! This entire ridiculous farce was over, and Charlie would cancel the tour and head back to California to lick his wounds and binge away whatever little is left of his life.
This may well, still play out. But suppose it doesn’t? What if the ego in him is greater than the addict? Having thrown down the gauntlet on himself making “defeat really not an option” he might just be forced to deal with reality. Finally!
It could happen. The male ego is a powerful thing. For many men, not failing is the driving force in their lives. It’s not about winning, it’s about not failing. Winning? Who knows what that is? We can spin anything into “winning, duh!” But for a guy, failure - that is very real and it can sting. And the fear of failure is even worse than the failure itself.
After Detroit, Charlie was probably looking down a dark chute, for the first time in his life, peering into the abyss. That Detroit crowd may accomplish what no one in Charlie’s life has ever done. Staring failure in the face, his ego screaming, “defeat, really is not an option!” shocked and shamed at the possibility that all his ridiculous claims may come to nothing, he may wake up and decide to finally grow up. He may realize that it is in his best interest to clean up his act. To go get some help, for real, this time.
And who wouldn’t want to see that happen? Even in the midst of all the craziness, he still somehow maintains a likeability that is quite remarkable. I’m thinking even the so called “Trolls” would feel a twinge of happiness should Charlie turn his life around.
I guess we will see… Next stop Cleveland, Tuesday.
March 27, 2011 | 11:45 pm
Posted by Misha Henckel
This past week, we were all captivated by the life and spirit of Elizabeth Taylor. What struck me the most, in listening to, reading, and watching all the stories about the great actress, was that throughout her remarkable life, she remained true to herself. Her choices were determined not by the wishes or beliefs of others, but by her own truth, her own soul.
The studios were famous for grooming and shaping their talent, just as they pleased. And if you wanted to be a star you sure as heck did what they said. But not a young Elizabeth Taylor. Very early on, then signed to MGM, she refused to acquiesce to the studio’s “request” that she change her name and remove the mole on her face.
She would marry whom she loved and refused to be trapped in relationships that no longer worked. Some might say that she did not respect the institution of marriage. Eight marriages, seven husbands – that’s far too many. But I would argue that, as a passionate, strong-minded woman, Elizabeth was simply unable to abide by anything less than an ideal marriage. It is after all the most incredible gift to humankind, marriage - the opportunity to share love, joy and true connection with another person. Unlike many women, Elizabeth did not need to marry for financial security. She could marry for love. And when the relationship proved to be less than what it was meant to be, she had the courage to be true and to move on.
She changed religions, choosing Judaism in her twenties, not because, as some believe, it was the religion of her third husband, Mike Todd, but because she wanted to. It was true for her. We know this because decades later, last week, her funeral, was presided over by a rabbi. And because she was an ardent and loyal supporter of the State of Israel, for which she was black-listed by many Arab countries. No lip-service here, she donated large sums to Israel and Jewish causes.
She broke through the glass ceiling, in the early sixties becoming the first actor, male or female, to be paid a million dollars. Think of it - a woman, the highest earner in any industry. Unheard of! Elizabeth was unquestionably a woman who knew her worth and demanded it.
Never afraid to go against the grain, with the outbreak of AIDS in the 1980s, she awakened to the overwhelming need to help, and at a time when few even acknowledged the disease, she helped organize and host the very first AIDS fundraiser. She would go on to help raise more than $100 million to help battle HIV/AIDS. Later, she acknowledged the struggle she faced in changing the prejudices towards those suffering from AIDS, “I had to fight! I had to fight! “ Yes, she fought for her friends and for those who had no one to speak for them, and she did it when it was the most unpopular thing to do.
She struggled though her own pain and suffering too, lots of it. But through it all, she was a woman who was not afraid to be true to who she was. And ultimately, that’s what it takes to live life well. She was a great role model for us all. Thank you Elizabeth!
March 21, 2011 | 1:46 am
Posted by Misha Henckel
It’s all about social media these days. If you’re not up with Twitter and Facebook, you’re just not in touch. You’re not relevant. And it’s not just about keeping up, there’s huge value in these latest forms of the Digital Age: bringing down dictators in the Arab world, providing disaster response solutions in tsunami-ravaged and nuclear-threatened Japan, reconnecting us with those whom we’ve lost touch, and all the branding and marketing power that they provide.
But social media can also be used to disseminate thoughtless, insensitive, hurtful, or downright mean messages. Take for example the top seven tweets of this past week as presented in HuffPost’s Short and Tweet: The Top 7 Tweets of the Week from the Fringe and Famous. That list included flagrantly cruel and senseless tweets by Gilbert Gottfried. Comments made at the expense of the Japanese people who are suffering through the most unspeakable horror. 50cent made the list, also having tweeted carelessly, cruel thoughts about the Japanese. He then had the audacity to tweet,” Some of my tweets are ignorant I do it for shock value. Hate it or love it. I’m cool either way 50cent.”
Really 50? You’re cool? Sounds like the words of a senseless idiot, who is just cruel!”
Our words have power. Tremendous power. And Twitter, Facebook and other social media have made that power exponential. So while the idea is to share our thoughts, our feelings, our reactions to things that we are experiencing with those in our network, the immediacy of this media often means that we’re putting out into the world things that we should never, ever share.
Problem is: we have at our disposal the most powerful means of communication ever known to humankind and not one of us has had a lesson in how to use it appropriately. Twitter and Facebook can be used as powerful tools or they can simply be abused. So what’s it going to be, cool or cruel?
March 16, 2011 | 1:16 pm
Posted by Misha Henckel
The scale and frequency of natural disasters has undoubtedly become far more severe in the last decade or so. And sooner rather than later, we are all likely to be severely impacted. So what can we learn from Japan’s recent and on-going catastrophe?
1. Be Fully Prepared. This may seem obvious, but so many of us, especially here in Southern California, are not ready for the next big one, whatever it may be - earthquake, tsunami, brush fire… Do we have supplies? A real plan? Have we spoken with our kids, elderly parents? Do we even know what we should do under various circumstances? Chances are, for many, if not most people the answer to these is “NO.” There are many sources on the web with all the specific steps for disaster preparedness. Here’s an excellent one: National Center for Disaster Preparedness
2. Be Part of the Solution. Educate yourself on how to survive. We may be so busy hoping that this sort of thing never happens to us, or in sticking our heads in the sand and avoiding thinking about this possibility at all, that we miss the opportunity to really be equipped for when the disaster does arrive at our own door. Now is the time to do research, get some training, brush up on our first aid or trauma skills, learn how social networks can be utilized for disaster response. Check out the FEMA Emergency Management training programs http://training.fema.gov/Programs/
3. Gaman – Pulling Together, Calm, Patience, Stoicism in the Face of Disaster. Gaman is a quality that we need to borrow from Japan. Watching the people there face these terrible circumstances, we can only admire and respect their orderliness, self control, perseverance and willingness to work together under the most painful and challenging circumstances. There is no looting or people-related chaos. This is a quality that we could desperately use, even on normal days – thinking about the wellbeing of others, of our community as a whole, not just ourselves. Last night, Nick Kristoff of the NY Times, former Tokyo bureau chief, talked to Piers Morgan about Japanese culture and gaman Nick Kristoff on Piers Morgan
It’s not “if,” it’s “when” will disaster strike us. Challenging stuff to deal with, so let’s be as ready as we can.
March 11, 2011 | 12:08 pm
Posted by Misha Henckel
I’ve been immersed in the comedy world these past several weeks, working with one of our top women comics to develop the pilot for a new TV series. Consequently, with my eye on funny, I’d been planning to blog about TVs five funniest moments this week, at least three of which would have been claimed by the irascible Charlie Sheen.
But then last night, I sat in front of the telly, gripped by the events playing out in Japan. As the news broke, I immediately called a close friend whose son is spending his junior year at college in Tokyo. He is fine…Thank goodness! But that is not the case for many, many others.
It was truly horrifying to watch innocent people, in their cars, their homes, or perhaps simply making their way down the street, taken unawares and swept away in the giant wave of debris.
Shocking, devastating, tragic…
I cannot write about funny moments this morning. All I can think about is the tragedy playing out in Japan and what we can do to help.
March 4, 2011 | 12:30 am
Posted by Misha Henckel
I can’t believe I’m writing this. I promised myself I would not get sucked into the Sheen mania that has swept across the airwaves and blanketed cyberspace, this past week. But last night, Charlie Sheen was in my dreams. No, seriously! I’m not kidding! Sheen mania has so taken-over the atmosphere that it has penetrated the dream realm. Oh my G-d! What’s a girl to do?
It’s making me crazy.
How is it that despite Sheen’s extremely unhealthy and at times allegedly violent behavior, so many people are still sympathetic towards him? Donald Trump says that CBS will soon give Charlie a raise, and get Two and a Half Men back on the air. And he would put Charlie on Celebrity Apprentice in a heartbeat. According to Donald, it’s all about ratings. The TV business is built on ratings. And Charlie Sheen equals ratings. It’s no lie. ABC’s 20/20 featured an hour with Charlie Sheen. The results? 9.3 million viewers, winner in its time slot and its highest ratings in two years.
So what’s happening here? Could it be that we’re just titillated by the manic spoutings of an unhinged drug addict? The thing is, so many interviewers, instead of calling Charlie on his s—t, seem to buy into his version of reality. Scary stuff! Piers Morgan, devotes an entire hour to Sheen, Monday night, and then calls him “alarmingly normal.” Sheen starts a Twitter account and within a couple of days has more than a million followers.
Can this really be happening?
Somewhere inside a lot of men is the desire to do and say exactly like Sheen. Charlie is “normal male on extreme steroids.” And drugs and alcohol, of course. When he says that he is a “rock star from Mars,” there are probably a million male egos throbbing in resonance. The men want to be Charlie. The women want to be with Charlie. Although, I cannot for the life of me understand why. Ladies, please! The measure of a man is the woman he’s with. In Sheen’s case, the women or “Goddesses” as he calls them are a porn star and a rather scared, pathetic looking girl. I mean, really. I’m sure they’re both in awe of the “big TV star” and clearly have zero self-esteem. They don’t know better, but we should.
On The View, Whoopi Goldberg piously states that if seeing their dad in bed with two women is “normal” for Charlie’s kids then it’s fine. What the heck! Have we no standards anymore? Is monogamy out the door? Are we devolving as a society? Now, anything goes?
Well I think it all stinks! We need to get a grip on ourselves, get Sheen of the air, and fill our airwaves and cyberspace with issues that really matter.
Fat chance of that happening, I know. But I just needed to say it.
February 28, 2011 | 12:05 am
Posted by Misha Henckel
1. DO be impeccable, appropriate, and delightful. Colin Firth, always understated, accepting for Best Actor, “I have a feeling my career has just peaked.” You just can’t help rooting for him.
2. DON’T get too excited and lose control of yourself. Spontaneity is important but poise is a winner. Melissa Leo forgetting where she is and becoming the first Oscar winner to drop an F-bomb in her acceptance speech.
3. DO be a true gentleman, so secure in yourself, that you can let your lady shine. James Franco standing calm and strong and allowing his “lady” for the evening, Anne Hathaway, to be the queen of the show.
4. DON’T be too obsequious and give your power away. Own your worth. Wally Pfister accepting for Cinematography for “Inception” calls Christopher Nolan his “master.” I know that he was trying to give Nolan some honor, but he takes it much too far.
5. DO be gracious and thank all the right people, especially your mother or your spouse. Everyone did well here, especially Natalie Portman (Best Actress) thanking her parents for showing her how to be a good person every day, and her fiancé for the role of her life – she is expecting, and Tom Hooper (Best Director) who thanked his mother for finding him “The King’s Speech.”
February 27, 2011 | 10:44 am
Posted by Misha Henckel
1. Hosts: do Anne Hathaway and James Franco take notes from Ricky Gervais (Golden Globes) or are they trying too hard to please?
2. Does the Academy award the brilliant, the gifted, the unique or do they go with the hype? Hype – Black Swan, The Social Network. Great films – The King’s Speech, True Grit.
3. Are the stars speaking from the heart (think Christian Bale) in their acceptance speeches, or are they contrived or too rehearsed?
4. Any major upsets? Think Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) in the Best Actress category; Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) in the Best Actor category; John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone) Best Supporting Actor category; Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) Best Supporting Actress Category.
5. Does Helena Bonham Carter clean up for the evening or does she stick to her crazy dressing ways?
February 26, 2011 | 9:58 pm
Posted by Misha Henckel
Watching the movie, I kept thinking that the Academy has gotten it horribly wrong. “True Grit” is nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Actor (Jeff Bridges) and Best Supporting Actress (Hailee Steinfeld). But there is nothing “supporting” about Steinfeld’s role or her performance. She delivers a drop-dead brilliant portrayal of 14 year old Mattie Ross, the story’s leading character who masterminds the search and capture of her father’s murderer. A 13 year old Steinfeld commands every screen with her captivating presence and drives every twist and turn throughout the story. She is a natural talent. The real deal. If nominated for Best Actress she would obliterate Natalie Portman’s hold on that particular Oscar. As superlative as Portman is in “Black Swan,” Steinfeld is simply far more authentic. She is just that good. A relative unknown before this film, Steinfeld does not only hold her own among a group of first-class male actors, she dominates. Jeff Bridges, on the other hand, comes across as a bit too self-assured, and self-indulgent, and Matt Damon can barely keep up.
The film is beautifully scripted. The cinematography is delightful and momentous. The editing and directing, impeccable. The Coen brothers have created a first class western. The rhythm and timing of the movie are definitely a throw back and leave the viewer nostalgic for a different era. It is an interesting combination of the beautiful and the gory. All wrapped around the character of a young girl who is so entirely purposeful that she lets nothing at all get in her way. Kudos to the Coens for making a film based entirely on a 14 year old girl.
This is precisely the kind of movie to watch when you need inspiration and motivation to deal with some big obstacle or challenge. Mattie’s fearlessness will seep into your bones and strengthen your resolve.
What can we learn from “True Grit?”
1. What it means to have purpose, and how powerful that can be. Mattie’s focus and lack of fear is far greater than that of the adult men who are also seeking the killer.
2. Age is irrelevant. Who we are is far more significant. Mattie out-negotiates and out-wits everyone who comes up against her, despite her tender years.
3. Films about strong women can be extremely successful.
This movie is unusually delightful… I hope you get to see it, if you haven’t already.
February 24, 2011 | 9:17 am
Posted by Misha Henckel
16 year old son: I don’t think anyone ever knew how down to earth J-Lo is. American Idol is so good for her.
It’s true! Jennifer may be a huge star but her appearance as a judge on American Idol is doing wonders for her image. Not that she has had a negative image. No, in the last few years, with her marriage and the birth of her kids, Ms. Lopez’s act has been squeaky clean. And for years she has been a bankable talent and real Hollywood icon. Even so, Idol is just the best career move ever. And it’s a big win-win. Jennifer brings an open compassionate heart and real “been-there” input and advice for the contestants. Unlike the Simon Cowell – Paula Abdul drama of past seasons, that had become simply inane, Jennifer’s presence is an uplifting force. She knows what the contestants are going through and she really cares. She is confident, secure in herself - an excellent role model for all the young girls watching the show. This season Idol has become the best kind of television.
Last night after she had to give crowd-favorite, Chris Medina, the news that he was going home, Jennifer broke down in tears. Needless to say we were all crying with her.
February 22, 2011 | 1:14 am
Posted by Misha Henckel
I watched mother/daughter pair, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, on the late night showing of Oprah, last night. I’ve known of these two Hollywood icons all my life, like most people who have even the smallest idea of pop culture. Debbie Reynolds first appeared on the big screen in 1952, opposite Gene Kelly in that evergreen classic “Singin’ in the Rain” and Carrie Fisher is, of course, Princess Leah of Star Wars. Debbie was married to singer, Eddie Fisher, who left her with two young children – Carrie and younger brother Todd – and ran off with Debbie’s best friend, Elizabeth Taylor. It was the Hollywood scandal of the century. Seems like Debbie must have simply picked up the pieces and got on with her life. After all it’s decades later, and now 78, she travels 42 weeks a year, is still vibrant, still performing, still a Hollywood star. Meanwhile Carrie has starred in numerous blockbuster movies, is a bestselling author and prolific screenwriter, and is currently performing in her one-woman show.
But their journey was not anything like it might seem to the outsider.
Debbie and Carrie reveal to Oprah the almost inconceivable challenges they have had to face, difficulties that would defeat most of us. My life has not been easy, and like most people I have had to deal with situations that I would much rather escape, but I kept thinking, “My life is so easy compared to theirs.”
Here are the key points:
1. Debbie is raised by an abusive mother
2. Debbie is abandoned by Eddie Fisher who leaves her with two very young kids, and takes up with her best friend, Elizabeth Taylor
3. Debbie’s second husband, Henry Carl, once a multi-millionaire, gambles away all of his money and hers, and then disappears leaving her saddled with millions of dollars in debt.
4. Debbie loses everything, her earnings are garnished and for a while she is homeless, living in her car.
5. Carrie becomes addicted to drugs and is later diagnosed as manic depressive
6. Battling her disorder, Carrie is checked into a psych ward and is placed in lock-down for a week
7. In 1997, Debbie is forced to declare bankruptcy because her third husband’s poor investments
8. Carrie refuses to speak with Debbie for more than 10 years
Oy! How could they ever have gotten past any of this? Yet there they are on Oprah, looking just fine, their relationship healed, Carrie’s mental issues under control, and both of them very successful in their careers. How did they do it? It must have taken so much courage, resilience, an unwillingness to be defeated, a great capacity to forgive, and a consistent and persistent will to create a good life, no matter what happened. I honestly wish I could be like that!
Watching Carrie Fisher, I was marveling at how easily she was erasing the stigma against mental illness, and getting viewers to recognize that it just another disease that needs to be treated. And Debbie Reynolds blew me away, particularly when she talked about Elizabeth Taylor and how she was able to transcend the hurt and find understanding for what had happened. Reynolds and Taylor would go on to renew their friendship. Wow! Don’t know if I could do that.
Amazing women! I was inspired. Till next time…
February 20, 2011 | 11:08 pm
Posted by Misha Henckel
“The Fighter” is an inspiration for anyone who may be may struggling with the pain and pitfalls of family drama.
With an overbearing, dominating mother as his manager, a crack-addicted, older brother as his trainer, and a gaggle of 20 and 30-something sisters who all seem to be stuck in high school, Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) must give up destructive family attachments if he is ever to make anything of his long-stagnant boxing career. His transformation hinges on his relationship with Charlene (Amy Adams), his new girlfriend, who steps into his life and gives him the moral support, and mental clarity to cut through the web of ties that bind him to a family that is doomed to disaster. Only when Micky stands up for himself, fires his mother and brother, and chooses what is in his best interest, does his family begin to respect him.
Why see this film? See it as much for Christian Bale’s (Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actor) remarkable and heroic transformation into crack addict and former boxer, Dick Eklund, and bravura performances from Melissa Leo and Amy Adams (both Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actress), as for the brilliantly realistic fight scenes that will captivate and drag you in. Even if, like me, you’re not a fan of boxing.
See it for the powerful message of redemption and ultimately of brotherly love. Dicky eventually does break his crack addiction and awakens to the need to support his brother in his bid for a world championship title.
And look for the scenes with Charlene and Micky that pulse with true connection and loving support. It is delightful to see Amy Adams break type and impeccably deliver the “sexy bitch.”
Family ties can be powerful and tricky. We can defeat ourselves with the need to be loyal to family when the family patterns are destructive, or when the family is held hostage by a powerful figure – in this case, the matriarch, Alice. Alice would often guilt Micky into doing what she wanted, instead of what was in his best interest.
The most powerful way to contribute to your family is to be true to yourself. When Micky stood up for himself and refused to continue to let his mother dominate him, he broke the cycle and propelled his older brother to break his addiction. By respecting himself, he created the opening for others in the family to make some changes and to also begin respecting themselves. And of course, his success became their success.
The film is entirely worthy of its Oscar nominations and for the Best Picture nod. I expect it will do very well on Oscar night.
I have two films to go: “127 Hours” - which I’m rather dreading, and “True Grit.” Till next time...