Hollywoodland – Movie Review

There is certainly one thing this movie gets right – all people my age remember the day Superman died. George Reeves shot himself.  We knew he was only acting a Superman role, but shouldn’t someone who is even acting like Superman be stronger than the rest of us? 

This is an interesting movie but not a great one. Its themes are very human.

For one, it presents the struggle between image and reality, the conflict we all engage. People think one thing, but we are another. And for some people in our world the image we portray is useful. It gets them something they want. To be who we are, we have to end up disappointing people. That’s a weight that can be too heavy to bear.

Two, of all the scenarios that explain a downfall the one that makes sense ultimately is that we are the architects of our own demise. The PI investigating Reeves’ death initially concludes that murder and not suicide explains it. But part of the movie is the PI’s journey to the conclusion that suicide is every bit as reasonable an explanation as murder. Reeves was a man who depended too much on being taken care of by others, and when they called in the chips, he couldn’t take the hit. He could have walked away at any time, faced himself and then lived with what he found. That takes courage. It was a courage he didn’t have.

Three, we can get in too deep until extricating ourselves becomes so painful that death seems preferable. Denial and death are twins. But we don’t see it until it’s too late.

Four, being a hero and playing a hero, even if it is in the movies, sets up some very painful moments.

The fact is that we live in a world where others have something to gain by us staying where we are. Not to fear them is the armor.

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