The “Hollywood Beauty Salon” is an intimate beauty parlor that happens to be part of the NHS Germantown Recovery Community, a non-profit mental health program in Philadelphia that is administered by NHS Human Services. Rachel “Hollywood” Carr Timms runs the beauty parlor, where staff and clients alike are all in the process of recovery from some form of mental health issue. By gathering together to get their hair done, share stories, and support one another, they find a way to rebuild their lives.
The film is built around preparations for their annual “Hair Recovery Show”–their version of a beauty pageant–and it is this exciting undertaking that allows us to meet the characters and hear their stories. The documentary itself—which was workshopped at the Salon over the course of four years—actually ends up being part of the recovery process itself, and the subjects of the film played an active part in shaping their own narratives and determining the unique, individual style of their respective story arcs.
Deeply emotional and highly imaginative, (using animation and other expressionistic effects to convey the interior lives of its subjects), the film was directed by Glenn Holsten, an award-winning Philadelphia-based documentarian whose previous films include OC87: The Obsessive-Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger’s Movie, a feature-length documentary about recovery from the depths of mental illness through filmmaking, Saint of 9/11, a biography of Father Mychal Judge, the Chaplain to the New York City Fire Department who died on 9/11 which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and most recently, The Barefoot Artist, a portrait of artist Lily Yeh which was released last year.
Not rated, Runtime 88 minutes (In English/ Documentary/ USA)