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kid 90

“I documented everything and locked it away from 20 years. I’ve never looked back at it. And so I decided to unlock the vault.”

Soleil Moon Frye

Actress Soleil Moon Frye catapulted to fame when at the tender age of 7 she starred in the hit TV series Punky Brewster. She was among a group of child stars who worked through the ’80s and came of age in the ’90s. During her teenage years, Soleil grabbed a video camera and a journal and began documenting everything: partying with friends, road trips, intimate conversations, flirtations, her experience having major surgery when she was 15 years old, family gatherings etc. Her circle of friends included fellow actors including Jenny Lewis, David Arquette, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brian Austin Green, Mark-Paul Gosselar, Stephen Dorff, among others. Soleil chronicled all the ups and downs of this stage in her life. More than two decades later, she’s ready to show this archive of tapes, diary entries and voice mail recordings to the world.

Picking up the camera was a way of controlling.”

Soleil Moon Frye

Directed by Soleil Moon Frye, kid 90 is an intimate documentary with a lot of heart. It captures a time before social media when teens, even those who often found themselves in the public eye, had some modicum of privacy and the freedom to be their most authentic selves. Soleil Moon Frye is front and center and we get to know the person behind the iconic character of Punky Brewster. Throughout the documentary, Soleil interviews her peers including Stephen Dorff, Brian Austin Green, Balthazar Getty, David Arquette and others. The most poignant aspect of the film is Soleil’s memories of friends who left us far too soon. I was particularly moved by seeing images and hearing the voice of Jonathan Brandis, whose tragic death by suicide is one I’ve never really come to terms with.

Through the tapes we see Soleil as a rebellious teen. As a Punky Brewster fan myself, it was difficult to see this other side of Soleil Moon Frye but I’m so grateful I did. It made her a more of a multi-dimensional person in my mind rather than simply a figure from childhood. Soleil Moon Frye exudes warmth and kindness. She’s someone you’ll want to spend with. 

kid 90 is a must see, especially for those people, like myself, who came of age in the ’90s. I hope Soleil Moon Frye will consider turning her archive of memories into a book!

kid 90 premieres on March 12th on Hulu.

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