The #metoo and #timesup movements have finally shone a light on some of the darkest truths behind the scenes in Hollywood. We’ve all heard about the latest news involving Louis CK, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, etc. etc. etc. However, the sexual harassment and assault of young women (and men) looking to advance their careers in the film industry has been occurring since Hollywood’s inception.
“…reminds us of some of these incidents, starting with the infamous case of Fatty Arbuckle and Virginia Rappe.”
Rocking The Couch reminds us of some of these incidents, starting with the infamous case of Fatty Arbuckle and Virginia Rappe. Arbuckle raped her so violently; she died four days later. Media mogul William Randolph Hearst accused him directly in his paper. I remember reading about this case in Kenneth Anger’s excellent book on the early days of motion picture scandal, Hollywood Babylon. We’re also told about a time where actress Natalie Wood was raped by an unnamed famous actor in 1950. Even her own mother told her not to disclose because the man told her that if she told anyone it would be the last thing she said.
The rest of the film focuses on cases of sexual harassment and assault occurring from the ’70s up until today. Most of these cases are ones I hadn’t heard of; I have to admit. So Rocking The Couch does a great service for bringing these cases to life. Actresses Tonja Walker, Alana Crow, and Lauren Anastasi Peter talk about their experiences with different levels of sexual harassment and assault.
“…it indicts the Screen Actors Guild for not protecting its members from these injustices until recently.”
There is also a lot of legal explanations of cases brought forth by defense attorneys Stephen G. Rodriguez and Pete Scalisi and Los Angeles County prosecutor Mark Collier. The latter two worked on the Wallace Kaye trial. Wallace Kaye was a talent agent who molested several young women and went to prison in the ’90s.
Rocking The Couch is pretty short, just over an hour, and it indicts the Screen Actors Guild for not protecting its members from these injustices until recently. No one from the Screen Actors Guild was inclined to speak on their behalf. I applaud director Minh Collins and producer Andrea Evans for their efforts in making people remember this is nothing new. However, the editing is not that great, and there is WAAAAY too much scroll text that could have been just voiceover on top of photos or anything else. The message of the film is important enough to try to ignore this, though. Survivors stories need to be told, however, flawed the medium.
Rocking The Couch (2019) Written and Directed by Minh Collins. Featuring Lauren Anastasi-Peter, Ikon Barenboim, Alana Crow, Jennifer Durst, Andrea Evans, Tiffani Fest, Josephine Gorchoff, Susan K. Hayn, Sadie Katz, Don D. Meredith, Carrie Mitchum, Stephen G. Rodriguez, Peter Scalisi, Pritesh Shah, Kim Johnston Ulrich
6 out of 10 stars