Suzanne Vale (Meryl Streep) is a high-strung and self-doubting actress who is forced to enter a drug rehabilitation clinic after an overdose of Percodan. While undergoing treatment, she reveals herself to be a selfish, spoiled young woman whose quick wit is a defense mechanism. Following her release from the clinic, Suzanne learns that the insurers of her next film have ordered her to live with a responsible person during the shooting. She moves in with her alcoholic mother Doris (Shirley MacLaine), a popular musical comedy star of the '50s and '60s.
Postcards from the Edge, directed by Mike Nichols, is based on Carrie Fisher's 1987 best-selling novel. The film is right on target in its scathing portrait of Tinseltown's addictions — including the addiction to unreality. At one point Suzanne admits, "I don't want life to imitate reality. I want life to be art." Although the story takes potshots at womanizing producers, unethical business managers, and schlocky movie makers, the real emotional vibrancy of the film comes from its portrait of a troubled mother-daughter relationship.
Meryl Streep gives a many-colored and multi-textured performance as Suzanne, a woman whose greatest struggle is to accept her God-given talent and to step out from underneath the shadow of her smothering movie star mother. Shirley MacLaine turns in a captivating performance as Doris, the battle-weary Hollywood survivor who must at last face up to her alcoholism, her physical decline, and the necessity of moving off center stage so Suzanne can shine. Postcards from the Edge proves that it's never too late for mothers and daughters to accept each other's imperfections and renegotiate their relationship.