‘This is Paris’ Misses an Important Mark

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If Paris Hilton’s goal for making This is Paris was to bring awareness to an important movement like Breaking Code Silence, then perhaps filmmakers should have put a heavier focus on that time in her life and less on her selfie obsession.

The YouTube Original follows the socialite, businesswoman, and actress as she talks about her fame a fortune. If there is one thing audiences will learn from watching Hilton, no amount of money and fashion that she surrounds herself with will make her happy.

Director Alexandra Dean should have been focusing on the trauma that Hilton lived through and the pressure caused by her family. The documentary was edited so that the important details and heartbreaking look into treatment centers for troubled teens were placed at the end. What is worse is that some of the most damning comments made by Hilton’s mother, Kathy Holton, showcase that she knew exactly what she was doing by sending her to these camps.

“Finally, I locked her in the room. I was afraid she could run into a predator, get kidnapped,” Kathy Hilton says in This is Paris. “Fear to me is the most powerful feeling there is. Fear. More than pain, more than love, more than hate, more than like, more than fear.”

What happens next is Hilton’s mother and father sending her away to several treatment camps designed to scare your teen straight. This should have been the main focus in This is Paris, but unfortunately, Hilton took ample time to show how much she loves to party and never be photographed in the same thing twice. It’s hard to feel sympathy for someone that lives such a charmed a privileged life.

What This is Paris does do, is showcase the courageous women that spoke out about the things that happened to them at Provo Canyon School and changed their lives (not in a good way) forever, how they can’t hold proper relationships and have PTSD and nightmares to this day.

Hilton manages to shed light on another topic that is equally as important as well. The revenge porn trend would be treated very differently during the Time’s Up and Mee Too movement. Again, the documentary only spends a little bit of time on these subjects, and they are sprinkled in with the selfies with screaming fans.

Suppose Dean had stripped away the scenes of Hilton having trouble packing for trips worldwide and taking selfies in a pool and filled those times with the underlying causes of her need for attention. Or how Hilton has trust issues, like buying a new computer after every boyfriend and storing them for safekeeping. Or that starting her own business pulled her out of the Hilton hotel heir status and launched personal success, one that ultimately could be causing her a lot of mental health issues as “the face of the brand.” Maybe then the documentary would have achieved what Hilton was looking to achieve. For fans to see her as something more than a shallow socialite.

Paris claims to be the first “influencer” and thrives on the way paparazzi chase her. For someone that says she couldn’t imagine growing up and being a teen right now in time with so many filters, and then a few scenes later shoes herself using filters and getting that perfect selfie angle. They should be a disclaimer at the end of the film to watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix.

Her voice is a powerful one, and if she continues to fight for the end of teen treatment centers like the ones her family sent her to, and the unrealistic standards put on girls and women, her influence and brand could save lives.

Hilton confessed in a recent interview with The Wrap that it took opening up about her experiences and meeting with the others at the camp to stop the nightmares that haunt her. Since the film’s release, litigation and lawmakers have looked into schools like Provo Canyon. Let’s hope that momentum builds and Paris Hilton continues to use her voice for good. I’d like to see a follow-up documentary of the change she brought to the movement.

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Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.

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