What would be a more fitting way for a former child actor to officially start his festival than with a documentary about child actors trying to break through in the states. The Hollywood Complex follows a dozen or so child actors and their families who are staying at a complex called Oakwood during the 3-4 month pilot season in the states. To be honest I went to see this because I thought it would be a bit of a laugh, children and their pushy stage parents trying to find fame and fortune in Hollywood. I was right to some degree with these vibrant young children spouting off some dialogue that only a child could, however between these moments of sheer hilarity were moments that made my skin crawl. From one set of parents showing their 7 year old YouTube clips of sick and dying children to prepare her for her audition as a sick child on Grey’s Anatomy, to the mother who became a Scientologist to help improve her daughters chances of becoming famous (she got cast in something almost immediately after her mother joined), there were some really stomach churning moments.
I think the reason I really enjoyed this doco was because it showed Hollywood for what it is and didn’t shy away from the harsh realities of being an actor. It was obvious that the filmmakers set out with an agenda as the film has really nothing positive to say about the Hollywood system and the people that inhabit it. I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule and that we probably see some of the worst cases in this documentary; however it is a film that does deal with the dangers of setting out to achieve something for purely fame and fortune, and the pressure that it can put on people, especially children.