When I went to LA, I glanced up at the Hollywood sign in amazement and wondered what the life of movie stars looked like behind the scenes. I was fascinated with the glamour, the show, the red carpets, the Oscars and everything else within. Recently the Netflix original “Hollywood” came up in my recommendations and I couldn’t resist giving it a watch.
It is a show which everyone must watch not only because it is studded with so much style and glamour, but because it highlights the dirty, unimaginable, horrific side of the Hollywood which we rarely see. The struggle of actors before they were cast in a film, and their life as normal people is something which is hard to imagine once they get the stardom. Moreover, even when they are stars, there is a distance between what is portrayed in the media for the people to see and their authentic self. The show highlights the stories of various characters, who started from nothing, and were totally powerless, and went on to win an Oscar – and this makes the show amusingly relatable.
The show also voices a strong statement for the LGBT community where many men in Hollywood are not openly gay because it would destroy their careers thereby highlighting their plight. Dick Samuels is a gay character who sleeps with gay men behind the scenes in the film he is casting, however, he does not exploit other men who want to be cast in films by forcing them to sleep with him – this makes the audience sympathise with his deprived position and yet respect him because he is not an exploiter.
On the other hand, Henry Wilson (Jim Parsons) is a character who defines the ugly, bad, and dirty in the movie business. He is not openly gay, but he exploits newcomers in Hollywood by forcing them to sleep with him to get roles. Shifting the focus of sexual exploitation from women, Netflix original “Hollywood” focuses on “behind the scenes” sexual exploitation which many people of the LGBT community contribute to because of their inability to be open about their sexuality.
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The show highlights the struggles of aspiring actors to survive in LA before getting their big roles. Jack Castello worked as a gigolo off a gas station before getting his first major role. He had to keep his family running in an expensive town like LA, but it involved him cheating on his wife with multiple other women, and men (though he wasn’t gay) at the gas station. The show voices a strong statement for various minorities as well – Anna May Wong (Michelle Krusiec), the first Chinese to ever win an Oscar (real story) is portrayed as a character in the film. Camille (Laura Harrier), an African American who made it big at films, also wins an Oscar in a gripping scene at the end. Finally, the character of Avis Amberg (Patti LuPone), portraying disrespected and powerless women in the household who finally find their position in the business world and outrun even the men there. The scene where there are minorities winning back to back Oscars in the last episode of the show is gripping and strong. It makes the viewers cry.
Overall, the characters, despite their issues and struggles, smile in front of the media and the people. This is depicted in a dark scene where all the characters walk the red carpet and Henry Wilson (Jim) smiles darkly at all the flashlights right after having an argument with a man who he had sexually exploited. It makes the audience truly wonder – “how much do we know about real life actors and their backstories except what is said in the media?”
The sincerity of characters despite their struggles, and their very human nature makes them come to life.
Claire Wood (Samara Weaving) supports her competitor Camille (Laura) in the casting scene as she passes her vaseline as a cheat trick to cry in the scene. In the movie industry, it is interesting to see two actresses supporting each other behind the scenes despite the tough neck competition. Various scenes like this in the show are enough to make the audience grow completely silent and focus entirely on the show – they are so gripping that they make the audience forget their own problems and stories, which is something that only great shows are capable of doing. The Netflix original “Hollywood” is one of the best shows created in 2020 so far. [Picture Credit: Women And Hollywood]
Views expressed are the author’s own. Vidhi Bubna is a contributor at SheThePeople.TV. Want to share your opinion, review or blog? Write to us at [email protected]