Happy Tuesday MMT Family! I’m excited to bring to you another guest reviewer – Christopher Weaver – who is an extraordinary PR consultant, writer and author of his new blog site Running Across My Mind, where he opens his soul to share words of encouragement and honest conversation about daily life.
Chris was gracious enough to attend the exclusive Kimmel Center screening and write a review of the new documentary HOLLYWOOD BEAUTY SALON on behalf of MMT. HOLLYWOOD BEAUTY SALON is about an intimate beauty parlor inside of the Germantown Recovery Community, a non-profit mental health facility in Northwest Philadelphia,run by NHS Human Services. The salon is operated by Rachel “Hollywood” Carr. Staff and clients alike are in the process of recovery – openly discussing their mental health issues, but also refusing to be defined by their diagnoses. By gathering together to get their hair styled, share stories, and support one another, they find a way to rebuild their lives.
Chris summed up his review with the primary theme “I am not my diagnosis” and explained his reasoning as follows,
“I am not my diagnosis” were the words that resonated loudly in the amazing documentary “Hollywood Beauty Salon. Directed by Glenn Holsten, this cinematic testimony of mental health recovery was filmed in Philadelphia’s historic section of Germantown. The salon is the backdrop for the healing process for the participants of GERMANTOWN RECOVERY COMMUNITY. The salon isn’t currently open to the public, but for the participants serves as a haven for their vivid accounts of abuse, mental health survival and chilling tales of heroism.
Many would agree with the mindset, “If you look good, you feel good,” and I truly connected with one voice, Rachel – the brainchild of the salon concept. Rachel is the product of foster homes and an abuse survivor. Not only is she the single mother of two, but also works as salon staff. She intended the idea as merely a common ground for people like herself to feel safe in their various levels of transparencies – but little did she know the larger impact it would have.
Glenn Holsten acted as the director to bring this story to life, but the men and women that profoundly expressed their ups and downs of mental illness were the true champions. Hair shows, fashion venues, tears, buses and sidewalks all added to the brilliance of this documentary. The cinematography was brilliant as well due to the raw footage of these amazing individuals that not only showed their daily routines but also included animation to punctuate how life can be simple and fun no matter what you may encounter.
The one common thread that was evident in this film that initially they all were hesitant to speak in front of a camera about their lives but the camera and salon cultivated a safe space and empowered them all. Men, women, black, white etc. are represented, which further dispels any class, gender, race issues about mental health recovery. There were so many tear-jerking moments, laughs and good old fashion love throughout the film. You didn’t have to know them to relate to their plights.
Mental illness is a disease that affects so many people. Most individuals hear the word mental and automatically assume extreme issues. Hollywood Beauty Salon is a platform for healing and a place to feel beautiful. Any median that provides those two extremely important life components is worth seeing!
This documentary certainly intrigued me upon first learning about it, and even more so upon reading Chris’s thoughts. You can watch the extended trailer below, and learn more about the documentary – including updates regarding viewing tours/public release – at the official website here.
Until next thought family, Thomasena