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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
You can never trust a tabloid to tell the truth. Often times the 'news' that are reported in them are skewed in such a way to boost sales, or are most often... down right wrong. Errol Morris cuts through the strange story of Joyce McKinney's lifetime of gossipy headlines in a series of interesting interviews in this documentary.
I personally had never heard of the former Miss Wyoming, who broke headlines in the 1970's, when she and a few compatriots traveled to England after planning the abduction of a man involved in the Mormon religion. Kirk Anderson was a young man who met Joyce near Salt Lake City in the U.S some time before committing himself to his faith. There was some sort of love affair between the two, and even promises of marriage, kids and a life together. Then one day, quite suddenly and with no explanation, he leaves for England. I was quite saddened by the way she told this story, and it's pretty obvious how much she loved this man, and normally when a man runs off without saying goodbye, it's pretty understandable that the relationship is over. But not for Joyce. She wasn't taking no for an answer.
The story that unfolds is pretty wild, but an absolute pleasure to watch. What makes it so interesting is the way Joyce tells the story, as the events get wilder and wilder, stranger and stranger until you have to ask yourself, 'Is this actually what happened?' She tells the story with an absolute certainty that it happened the way she tells it, and there are other interviewees that contribute to the wild tale that unfolds. However it's her personality that makes it really shine. She comes off as a happy, carefree kind of person. A real southern belle with a attitude of such nonchalance, that you can't help but smile when she describes some of the more, shall we say, illegal activities she committed.
The film shows us how far some people are willing to go for desire, even to the point of unbelievable madness. There is a bit of a sweet seaway in the main story at the end, that actually shows her obsession very well, but I couldn't help but smile at how nuts she is... but in a nice way. Certainly a sad story, perplexing at times, and simply hilarious as well.
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