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Starry Eyes Illuminates the Dark Side of Hollywood

India has been an avid fan of all things spooky and scary ever since she can remember.

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"...dreams require sacrifice."

— Starry Eyes, 2014

2014’s Starry Eyes follows Sarah Walker (Alex Essoe), an aspiring actress convinced she is destined for the big screen. However, Sarah soon discovers that becoming part of the Hollywood elite isn’t as easy as she thought…The film is an eerie, carefully crafted meditation on ambition and the lengths people will go to get what they want.

While I don’t condone Sarah’s actions, it’s hard not to sympathize with her dream of “making it big” in Hollywood. Although most of us have never pursued an acting career, we can all see ourselves reflected in Sarah’s desire to stand out. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, longed to be noticed, admired for who we truly are? Haven’t we all wanted to be more than just another face in the crowd?

Of course, unlike Sarah we understand that some lines should not be crossed in pursuit of our ambitions. In my opinion, at least, once those taboos are broken the dream becomes a nightmare. After all, there is nothing admirable or inspiring about someone who has distinguished themselves through deception. There are no shortcuts to success. Or rather, there are, but taking them may cause you to end up somewhere very different from your intended destination.

Just look at former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes. Once hailed as “the next Steve Jobs” for her innovations in biomedical technology, the self-made billionaire lost her company, her fortune, and her credibility after it was revealed that she was deliberately misleading investors. Holmes’ intentions—at the beginning, anyway—may have been good, but the methods she used to achieve her goal were both callous and criminal. (There are more ways to sell your soul than bargaining with the devil.)

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Speaking of bargains, though I wouldn’t go so far as to call Hollywood demonic, Starry Eyes makes a valid observation about the predatory nature of stardom. Young people—especially women—are often exploited by unscrupulous higher ups early in their careers (Harvey Weinstein, anyone?). Though this issue has been brought to light in recent years thanks to the #MeToo movement, we still have a long way to go before such practices are eliminated. No one should feel obligated to trade sexual favors for fame. Well known or not, they are worth so much more.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 India LaPalme

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