DISCLAIMER: In the below article, serious topics such as suicide, mental health, rape and substance abuse are discussed.
Being a child actor is not as glamorous as it sounds. The amazing opportunities, the money, and the fame cannot fulfill a person.
Through the eyes of Soleil Moon Frye, AKA ‘Punky Brewster,’ she describes in 90 minutes the hideous side of being a child actor in the 90s. This beautiful and insightful documentary does not sugarcoat, like things were back then.
Soleil Moon Frye started her career as an actress at the age of two. Her breaking role was when she was seven on the American Sitcom TV show “Punky Brewster.”
She was an adorable, spunky girl and people loved her. Frye also appeared in many other shows and movies like “Saved by the Bell” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.”
She was watched closely in the glory days of 90s Hollywood. Everything you could possibly work for and dream of was given to her and many other child actors at a very, very, young age.
What was the purpose of life? Which is the right way to live?
And to figure out these daring questions in the awkward stage of teenagerhood in the public eye? It does not sound easy.
Frye kept many written journals and video journals of her life growing up in the spotlight. She compiled all of her thoughts and clips into a documentary explaining the ups and downs of figuring out life as a star.
She directed and starred in this film and got her close friends to add more insight into what life was like.
Something that is very honorable about this documentary is the sincerity. Nothing here is filtered.
It can be difficult to unfold everything of a story. Frye did not hold back.
She was real and honest about her friend’s suicides. At the end credits, there is tribute to all her friends she lost during that time period.
She asked her friends to explain their philosophy of life and many of them appeared to be unhappy and hopeless. She advised her audience to listen to what people say and watch out for those signs.
Losing someone in that way is devastating and no one can truly know how it feels until it happens to them.
Another huge topic shown throughout was the normalcy of teenagers drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and doing drugs most of the time. They were child royalty to America, and they got away with most illegal things.
As a result of that, it led Frye and her friends down a dark path. They thought these substances would make them happy.
Lastly, Frye talked about her early sexualization at age 13 and her rape at age 17. These were heavy topics to watch.
According to Frye, once you look and sound like an adult, you are an adult. There is no turning back.
“kid90” is a must-see documentary right now. Not only can viewers contemplate what life was like then and the problems child actors face, but viewers can also think a lot about how much things have evolved since then.
This is well-done documentary made by Soleil Moon Frye and hopefully we can see more stories, like hers, released.
Emily McGlynn is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact her, email at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Contributors
Freshman / Broadcast Journalism