What happens when your hopes are inflated and then your whole world collapses? Dreams of becoming a film producer are shattered and Sarah remembers the past when tracing screenwriting to uninterested and poorly motivated college students. When Thom G contacts her in an email wanting to learn her story Sarah uses the interview for several reasons. As you meet the cast from the past and understand how she was able to get the internship, and the unhappiness that her parents expressed by her choices, you will learn just how persistent and relentless she was .
From the minute she meets Sylvia, Sarah learns the meaning of more than just being an intern. Menial tasks nothing that requires hard thinking but she stapled scripts, send emails and got coffee until she meets Xander the writer/ director of the film they hoped to get produced and on screen. He did not want meetings, pushing it off on others and told by Sylvia to take some interest in other projects and packaging and reading scripts they sent him. Why ask Sarah to read the three scripts? When asked if they were better than his, her response was professional but untrue. The conversation takes different turns and she reads all three scripts and provided notes and the end result explains why they were never mentioned or produced. What about Xanders? When Sarah reads his script and presents her notes what happens will spearhead what she thought was a lucrative career in films. With her new script notes and rewrites and a new draft of A Hard Cold Blue, interest came from financiers and production within another year. Four years on, the movie was about to reach theaters. Learning the art of networking and negotiating.
The core of the novel comes into play when Xander’s film had its first screening in Cannes. That’s where Hugo North comes in and the complexity and complexion of the novel takes a different direction. Sarah Lai is success struck seeing her name on a single card in the credits but the parties, the drugs and the possibility of moving ahead takes away her sensibilities and from thus point on as you read more about her interviews with Thom you realize the Hugo would change it all and although Xander was all in what happens to Sarah and Sylvia quite different.
Each interview with Gallagher enlightens readers about the different viewpoints of Sylvia regarding Sarah and why she took risks and one shot at making it in the business. Page 139 describes in Sylvia’s words Sarah’s jobs and the end result . Next Thom interviews Anna McGrath by phone about Holly Robinson the young actress that got the role in Xander’s movie. We learn the history behind her friendship with Sarah and the feeling that there is something hidden that she does not want revealed. Hugo is the subject of the interview with Val Tartikoff . His assessment on pages 163-164 giving readers a different perspective about Hugo.
Sarah gets caught up in the glamour and glitz that Hugo brings to the group. Money is no object and the parties and late night games get out of hand. Sylvia tries to warn Sarah but she’s so into wanting to be part of Hugo’s innermost group that her actions lead her down a dangerous path.
When Sylvia has to return to home , Sarah is acting producer and things changed dramatically as behaviors were not professional outside of the movie. Casual drinkers , coke is omnipresent but as Sylvia states it was how these social encounters were used to foster professional bonds. Blaming behaviors on the film industry and not being around for these late night parties dealing with financial issues and hoping for funds, Hugo comes in and flaunts his money, his connections and Sarah us young and impressionable but in the end she falls in line with what others are doing and lives change. The interview on pages 187-188 will enlighten readers even more into Sylvia’s take on how after a while she was cast aside by both Hugo and Xander and things took a different turn.
Harsh revelations and Sarah becomes a victim is sexual abuse as Hugo tries his best to gain control over her and in the present she tells part in her interview and then Holly is next as her words are carefully created and the innuendo obvious but was she part of this METOO era and what effect on her career?
Secrets, lies and revelations as Hugo demands Sarah return to his room with scripts and needs to convince Xander to do it instead . But why was Holly being taken by Hugo’s assistant?
Sarah finally tells all to Thom and revelations about the film industry are highlighted and the author allows young hopefuls inside the unscrupulous and deceitful side that often lured them in to succumb to the wiles of others like Sarah , Holly and others.
As you hear Sarah’s words and the guilt she expresses over what happened to Holly and what Courtney confided in her, why did she stay silent about and why not do something about it? Sylvia recounts how it all began but nowhere does she claim responsibility for what happened behind the scenes. What would have happened if there was no Hugo? Money, power, connections, Sarah who was taken advantage of and then overlooked at the Globes, and more. Then the final betrayal is Sylvia learning the meaning of deception, betrayal, and disloyalty. Even more, sabotaged by not focusing on contracts is reading the fine print. The final chapters are like a scene from individual movies of each character and their outcomes as Sylvia gives her thoughts, and regrets and you wonder if there is any guilt about Sarah. Sarah tells it all and how Hugo blindsided her, the payoff, and the nondisclosure she was forced to sign. But the interviews that Thom crested and the outcomes of Sylvia, Hugo, and Xander will expose the truth and what was their final fate as author Winnie M Li takes us deep inside the movie and film industry, and in the end you the reader must decide Who if any one or all are Complicit. Will Sarah write her screenplay? What about teaching it? Strong characters each with different moral and ethical values and yet at the end what’s your definition of Complicit?
Fran Lewis just reviews