Whitney’s review published on Letterboxd:
Oh, old friend.
I have hesitated and pushed words and phrases to the depths of my mind, refusing to surrender to the overwhelming urge to pour my innards out onto paper about this film. When the pouring begins, it ends. The realization that this will likely be my final time writing about her- it is all too much for my shriveled heart to bare the thought of doing so, so I put it off, I ignored the frequent knocks on my heart’s chamber doors, I just wasn’t ready; I am still not ready.
I’m just glad you’re here at the end.
I shouldn’t be having trouble starting this review, but here I am. I am just going to write the way I know how and that is through feeling and retelling of how I specifically felt the moment I first watched this film Thursday evening at 7pm. I had been both looking forward and dreading this day since late December last year. It is the final time we are seeing her. I was terrified Rian Johnson wasn’t going to give her the ending she deserves. I was terrified they would kill her off immediately. I proceeded with caution but kept my hope in tow because this franchise is my favorite and one of the few constants in my life. And Leia….Leia is without a shadow of a doubt, the most important character to me. She always will be. Carrie Fisher may have given us Leia, but what I am most grateful for, more than anything on this earth, is that Leia gave us Carrie Fisher.
My eyes closed as her body sat idle in space. Frozen. Waiting. Thoughts spinning in my head, you have the force, we know you do, use it. And she did. It is a moment people have waited 40 years for. It is something people have somehow denied for 40 years.
Drowned in moonlight, just as she wished.
The only word I can use to describe what I felt during that moment, that beautiful and pivotal scene, was purely spiritual. Like a warmth and a familiarity rushed across my skin, from my feet to my head, covering inches of my skin, it was in that moment that you could feel Carrie. I know that sounds nuts and audacious, but I wonder if everyone else in that theater of 400 people felt the same thing I did, I cannot stop thinking about that sensation, I keep on trying to bring my mind back to that moment, to recreate that feeling, but it is gone. For a brief minute, I felt something other than myself and my emotions. It felt like I was watching that scene through another persons eyes, the only thing I could hear was the pounding of my heart and the only sight in my surrounding was her, this character, this woman, saving herself in ways unimaginable by all, but something we have always wished would come to be told. I felt alone in that theater, each seat appearing empty beside me, and yet I wasnt alone. I hold that scene dear to my heart, thus why I have become so defensive over it. Her son is powerful because of his bloodline. But look closer. Look at his Mother. In my heart of hearts, she is the last Jedi.
You taught me how.
I have always felt as if Leia’s arc was never solidified or given higher tellings. It has driven me crazy for a number of years, but this go around, this felt just as much her story as it did Luke’s and Rey’s and Kylo’s. She is the backbone. This is the perfect farewell.
The scenes with Leia and Luke obliterated our hearts. A reunion long desired and wished for, providing solace to this grief we simply cannot shake. His last lines to her being: “No one is ever really gone.”
Eerie, surreal, and wildly comforting words of assurance, I cannot thank the writers enough for that moment.
I don’t want to take a second of this film for granted. Each time I sit back and think of how this will be our last time seeing her, I don’t feel this paralyzing sadness anymore, I feel peace and comfort. This is everything she wanted for Leia. I cant even begin to process how proud Carrie mustve been after wrapping. She was so protective over Leia. She loved her more than any of us ever will. She took such great care of her.
This episode feels the most human of them all. The most touching. The most daring. The most profound.
No, you say it, I’ve said it enough.
What Rian Johnson gave to us here is a monumental swan song. A beautiful bookend to the life and legacy of General Leia Organa Solo.
She has the last lines in the film, something I didn’t catch until my second watch. And oh what a line it is.
As sad and tragic as her death was, it was peaceful and had such purpose.
She left us everything we need.