Hollywood is a Netflix original mini series directed by Ian Brennan and Ryan Murphy. It takes place in 1947’s Hollywood and focuses on the film industry and film culture. I haven’t written a review on a show before, however I thought this show makes the perfect exception given it’s about film. The series only consists of 7 episodes and includes the cast of Darren Criss, Jim Parsons, Laura Harrier, and Patti Lupone. The series tackles a variety of different issues within society in both today’s world and in 1940s Hollywood. It looks at race, religion, sexuality, ethnicity and gender, and how people are overlooked or mistreated because of what “box” they fit in. They overcome everything in this powerful and entertaining series.
My favourite quote in the series comes from Darren Criss’ character Raymond Ainsley, the director. He says “movies don’t just show us how the world is…they show us how the world can be”. I think this is a beautifully said line that perfectly describes why we fall in love with film. Film is so important because it is the way we tell our stories. The main idea in this show is that they are trying to make a movie with the lead as an African American woman, and people are not happy about it. However, the group is persistent, they know there will be backlash, but they understand the importance of making the movie and they do whatever it takes to get there. Even though this series takes place in 1947, it was really easy to draw connections to today’s North American society. It highlights the fight for equality that is ongoing today.
At first I found the story to be very slow but then as you get to the last four episodes you get invested in the story and what happens to the characters. The story becomes dramatic and suspenseful. It really keeps you on your toes and I was literally gasping. Sometimes it feels like it’s your movie and you are a part of the crew putting it all together. The show makes you feel like you are a part of the film making process as if you are in the room with them. You get emotionally involved with the characters and when they face setbacks of backlash you feel it too. It made the watching experience very personal for me and I think that’s a really amazing aspect of this show.
The show does get a little inappropriate at times, so I would not recommend it for younger audiences. However, I understand why they did this, as it does make sense for the sake of the story. It’s all a part of these characters’ climb to the top and the slippery slope that is. It shows the audience just how badly they want to make it in the industry and the lengths they will go to get there.
Something I found extremely unnecessary in the story was Dick’s death. I’ve never seen a character’s death matter so little in a series or movie. It changed absolutely nothing in the plot and just kind of happened out of nowhere. It was like all of a sudden there was a funeral with no explanation. I don’t know why they killed off this character and it simply felt like an add on scene.
I like a lot of Ryan Murphy’s work including ‘Glee’ and ‘Scream Queens’. I think he is a very talented and creative director/ screenwriter. He’s always changing the game and doing something weird or different. I loved seeing familiar faces like Darren Criss (Glee) and Laura Harrier (Blackkklansman, Spider-man: Homecoming). I think they bring so much to this show and their character’s dynamic together is fantastic. I also really like how this show seamlessly switches perspectives and experiments with intertwining stories. I found it really clever and this way you got to connect to and better understand the characters individually. I'd be interested to see a season two of this show if there is to be one. Since it is a mini-series I wouldn’t expect one, but I would definitely watch a second season as I am very interested in this story.
In conclusion, I really loved this series and you should definitely check it out especially if you like stuff about old Hollywood or the history of the film industry. It is not historically accurate but it is loosely based on different issues of that era. I found the series both fascinating and inspiring. I think it really shows the power of film and the impact films have on people.