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Early Errol Morris documentary intersplices random chatter he captured on film of the genuinely eccentric residents of Vernon, Florida. A few examples? The preacher giving a sermon on the ... See full summary »
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A documentary that examines the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. After having spent between 6 and 13 years each in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.
Tabloid stories centered on the activities of Joyce McKinney, a former beauty queen with a self-reported IQ of 168, over her life are presented. Beyond her beauty pageant days, McKinney first hit the tabloid pages in Britain in what was largely coined "The Case of the Manacled Mormon". As reported by McKinney in interviews, she, a southern Christian originally from North Carolina, got involved with a group of Mormons in her pursuit of true love, without knowing they were Mormons or anything about Mormonism. She fell in love with one of those Mormons, Kirk Anderson, the two who were to be married. After he disappeared without saying anything to her, she, with the help of a private investigator and some male friends and new acquaintances, tracked him down in England where he was being brainwashed by Mormon elders, that brainwashing which included the notion of sex with and marriage to her, a non-Mormon, as taboo. He left with her voluntarily, she who took him away to a secluded cottage ... Written by
Errol Morris has throughout his filmmaking career, found some interesting subjects. From the groundbreaking The Thin Blue Line (1988)
that actually produced evidence enough to release a man from death
row, - to The Fog of War's (2003) view of modern American political history according to Robert McNamara (reviewed here by Tom previously). And with Tabloid, he has yet again discovered a story that defies belief.
Joyce McKinney was former Miss Wyoming. She became a British tabloid darling in the late 1970's when she came over to the UK and kidnapped a young man, holding him hostage. The film tells the story of McKinney's various obsessions; she became obsessed with a young Mormon missionary, but his faith was compromised and, as far as Joyce was concerned, the Mormon church stole him away from her, taking him to England to restore his faith.
The levels of obsession are exposed progressively throughout the film. Joyce's fixation on this one person who she claims to love unconditionally is actually quite sad. She states late on in the film that there is only one love, and she loves the Mormon, and will love no other. This stubborn focus on one love has seen through to her old age, as she fills this love with a dog. The obsession of one love is also propagated in her love of her dog, that once dead, she spends thousands of dollars to get it cloned in South Korea.
As with all Morris documentaries, this is a little gem, and is never outwardly judgemental of it's subject matter. It is a tragic tale, and whilst it has been Joyce's own choice, her strong morals are quite touching. However, strip all sympathy aside, and she is simply mental!!
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