Ariel Phenomenon (2022) Poster

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The archive footage is excellent
RebrandSoftware5 June 2022
Warning: Spoilers
I am interested in "UFOs" enough to occasionally engage on the topic on reddit and watch a documentary or youtube video every once in a while.

I have seen snippets of the interviews with the kids before, but the quality here is a step above the rest, and seeing it interspersed with them grown up and still haunted by these memories is very compelling.

It's worth the rental price for that alone.

It's such a weird story and the minor details, like entities moving in slow motion, are just too weird to be made up by elementary school kids and stuck to for 20+ years. Almost everyone says they believe the children. After watching this I'm on board. Whatever they saw does seem like it was real, not "mass hysteria" or something like that.
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Excellent Movie
jzxcsby2 July 2022
Waited a very long time to see this film and it did not disappoint. This is the most intriguing and believable alien encounter story that exists. I remain an open minded skeptic, but the one thing this movie makes crystal clear- the kids did not invent this story and they fully believe what they experienced even into adulthood. It is very difficult for me to imagine someone staging a hoax where a nearly silent disc shaped craft flies across the sky in a blaze of bright light and lands, with 4 foot tall large eyed beings getting out and walking around. I have so far not seen even a lazy attempt at explaining how someone could fake that, especially in rural Zimbabwe. So I certainly lean towards the incredible yet simple explanation that fits the descrIptions - a flying effing saucer landed in a playground, and aliens interacted with children. Before you think that's crazy, listen to the children (now adults). Watch the film. See what you think. I haven't heard a believable alternative explanation, but I would like to see someone give it their best shot.
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Fascinating story but not a great documentary
danieletottle2 May 2023
The events, witnesses, archival footage work is really extensive but unfortunately all of this effort suffers a lot from poor editing work. 1h and 40 minutes long that could have easily been 30 minutes long instead and become an extremely compelling documentary. The layout of the facts is way too scattered, the focus of the narrative is all over the place often going on tangents that don't really feel relevant or necessary.

The Phenomenon documentary (Directed by James Fox) covers all of the relevant parts of this same event in its last 10 minutes and does a fantastic job at it.

7 of 10 because of the extensive archival work done but again, from a documetaristic point of view it really needed more triage done in my opinion.
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Been waiting 4 years for this movie
victoriamaxxine23 May 2022
I've been admittedly frustrated with the time it's taken for this movie to be released, but I'm so happy it finally was. This incident is so incredibly compelling. I'm hoping once they receive some funds from rentals, there will be some additional publicity, and hopefully gets picked up by a streaming service so more people can see it. This is an incredible story about not only these children seeing other-worldly beings and things that can't be explained, but the importance of giving people a voice and listening to experiences, something John Mack was very passionate about. Learning about these children changed my life, and I'm a little jealous of all you who will be discovering this story for the first time!
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This is my first written review since joining IMDB in the 1990s
christianremington20 June 2022
I've been a lurking member of IMDB since, almost, its inception on the Internet as we know it today.

I've never been compelled to write a review of a film until now.

For centuries, people have been experiencing things all over the map of what we, traditionally, would conceive as outside of known reality.

What body or institution defines and catalogues our perceived worldviews or reality?

I'm perfectly happy embracing the unknowns of our universe and existence. I wake up every day looking forward to having more questions.

The awesomeness and wonder of it all is what drives me.

This film screams that sentiment.

Try to be a blessing to your self and everyone else around you.
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This was scary - not the UFO part but how Dr. Mack was treated by Harvard...
Sean_Biggins18 October 2022
Parts of this film are quite old so hopefully things have changed by now, but Harvard really gave Dr. Mack a hard time which I had not known about. As someone in the doc says, you can believe in God and angels etc., at Harvard, but not in ET life.

The other disturbing part was how the very religious parents of one of the girls (Emily Trim), reacted to the incident. I've always suspected that religious people would have their worlds rocked by an ET encounter but this proved just how much it upset them because they wouldn't even let their kids talk about it and they moved back to Canada as soon as it happened (they had been sent to Africa by the Salvation Army to do religious work). Although perhaps not all religions are as closed-minded because in 1959, Father William B. Gill, an Anglican missionary, saw a space ship in Papua New Guinea and he didn't seem freaked out at all.

But it's a good doc even if you know the story and have seen clips of the kids before. It would have been nice if more of the former students could have been in it as adults now because I think those were the best parts. But it's definitely a good watch if you're a UFO buff.
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A Lion Tale
durrien28 May 2022
There is possibly too much to say about this story... this encounter... this phenomenon. Which is probably why it took the director some 15 years to research and pull together the preliminary edit of 100 minutes. It's a documentary that was shopped around to would-be distributors, who apparently advised that the film should have more of a commercial appeal. Truly, even in its current form, the movie deserves a wide global audience. It's an authentic account which is perfectly suited for our cultural moment. As a planetary civilization, we are waking up from history. We are at an inflection point in our understanding of ourselves and our place in the cosmos.

Depending on one's perspective, humanity has existed in concert with other intelligent beings since forever. Whether they're angels or aliens or some other kind of dimensional life, these beings are part of a larger natural order. This reality has been experienced and expressed across cultures, around the world, for millennia. Again, it's the sort of mystery that could easily be explored in a longer documentary. There are so many ways to frame the telling of the tale, which sets the stage for an inevitable paradigm shift.

Suffice it to say, for whatever the film may lack in production savvy, it more than makes up for with journalistic integrity and genuine compassion. With unassuming precision, the documentary deftly weaves together many testimonies; from the individuals who witnessed the remarkable event, to the indigenous people for whom these occurrences are part of our common spiritual tapestry. As with all good art, the personal becomes universal. What begins as a very private wrestling to make sense, transforms into a public sharing for our own consideration.

At heart, then, this movie is about honoring those who have had these deeply confounding experiences. These are things that happen. People need the space and support to process such extraordinary moments. Whether we're ready or able, individually and collectively, to fold the mystery of these experiences into our worldview, the truth is that humanity is nestled within a grander reality that's both visible and invisible to our understanding. As Shakespeare reminds us, "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy."

Clearly the phenomenon of otherworldly beings interacting with humanity needs further investigation, on all levels. We may begin to unpuzzle some of the meaning and purpose behind such encounters. In the documentary itself, of all the astounding, mind-boggling recollections, one young girl explains a message that was communicated directly into her mind, through her conscience. She said: "I think they want people to know that we're actually making harm on this world, and we mustn't get too technologed (sic)." Wisdom is as wisdom does.

While "Ariel Phenomenon" is a very competent, strongly conceived introduction to the reality of this earthly mystery, it should also be noted that the director leans heavily in favor of what's known as the "extraterrestrial hypothesis." There is an implicit assumption that the beings are from distant planets in our physical, sensible universe. Meanwhile, other luminaries who have studied these phenomena for decades (e.g., Jacques Vallee) would be underwhelmed to discover that our cosmic interlopers are merely extraterrestrial. All the evidence suggests something much stranger than we can imagine.

In this spirit, it's somehow poetically (or mystically) appropriate that the Zimbabwe event occurred at a place called the Ariel School. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, Ariel has the meaning of "Lion of God," whose angelic mission is elemental dominion over the earth. We may be under the gentle guidance -- and, at times, heavy-handed admonition -- of an invisible cohort with whom we share this majestic world. Through the impressions meticulously curated in this documentary, we are invited and challenged to broaden our worldview. Outside one of the school's classrooms, a children's poster of the solar system quietly reads: "We All Live Together."
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The movie with a chilling story to tell.
chefkayak19 August 2022
This movie has everything and anything you need to start believing in this topic. This is not just a bunch of clips put together but indeed a human account of a event that shocked so many. It takes you to the kids being interviewed in all age groups. To the aftermath of the kids grown up and recalling the events with the maturity and wisdom of their own. To see the BBC reporter admit he was overwhelmed and shaken from this event to the facial expressions of the kids will keep your mind captivated to the end. This movie is passed well and the edits keep the story on a human level. At the end of the story you will want to rewatch it again. Finally I will say having 64 to 70 kids tell a story of such a life changing event and anyone who knows kids and young adults truly knows they are telling the truth. Five ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ stars.
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An important exploration into an event that begs for more worldwide attention
zaptagious22 May 2022
I backed this project in 2017 and have been waiting diligently for it to come out, and now I can firmly conclude that it was worth the wait.

Contrary to the subject matter of aliens, this is still a very human story about the toll it takes processing something so completely unknown and extraordinary that it gets dismissed out of hand. But with all the facts neatly lined up in this film, it is very hard if not nigh impossible to deny that something incredible happened on that day in Ruwa, Zimbabwe in 1994. I would challenge anyone to watch this documentary and not reach the same conclusion.

It's a beautifully shot film which intermixes archival footage with modern day follow-ups with students, faculty and other people involved, as well as gorgeous images of the African countryside. It invokes feelings of sympathy, connectedness and a sense of wonder. The juxtaposition of old and new testimonies underlines the credibility of this story and how it hasn't changed in two and a half decades.

If it really actually happened, and there is little reason to doubt it did, what could it all mean?

It makes you wonder...
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Mind-Blowing Topic, Amateur and Disjointed Execution
rambleonshon23 May 2022
For those unfamiliar with this subject-specifically to those who have never seen the raw footage of these children (both from the BBC and John Mack), this film has the potentiality to blow people's minds. But for those familiar with ALL of this, and have been waiting for years to finally see this documentary-some may feel that there was a massive overpromise and underdelivered result.

In general, the story is not allowed to tell itself, and director Randall Nickerson starts getting fancy with unnecessary edits, interposed with current interviews, flashbacks, EXTREME close-ups, too much focus on Emily Trim (which feels like another movie altogether), more EXTREME close-up, and loses the viewer's interest-with the most important and salient facts showing up much later into the film (psychic messages pushed into the kid's minds, etc.).

It's almost hard to believe that after all these years, something more effective was not delivered but the truth is that the short segment in The Phenomenon (the 2020 documentary) and the original footage alone, is infinitely more effective than this presentation.

While I'm glad that this was finally released, it's a let down. However, for those unfamiliar with this topic / incident and/or those seeking additional information, it is better than nothing.
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Revisiting A Remarkable Event In Human History At The Right Time
AudioFileZ10 June 2022
The gravity of the UFO/EBE event at The Ariel School in Zimbabwe was heightened by the sheer number of witnesses along with the fact it may have lasted fifteen or so minutes. Events like this are rare, of course, and would possibly even be singular as the EBEs interacted with some of the witnesses. Quite a stir locally quickly spread wider as all news services picked it up. The BBC felt compelled by duty to dig deeper. So begins the larger story of what many consider the most credible mass-sighting event in the modern world.

Tim Leach of the BBC's Zimbabwe Bureau was immediately on the story interviewing the witnesses at Ariel School who witnessed the event. Leach, finding the many children wholly believable felt the need to better document the amazing daylight encounter of not only the unknown flying vehicle but interaction between some of the students with unknown beings. Leach called Harvard University's John Mack. Mack immediately knew this was something beyond compelling, historically important in mankind's history. Mack travelled eight-thousand miles to Africa to interview the witnesses first-hand. He documented interviews with the students on video and audio as well as taking extensive written notes as he found the event amazing and credible.

Now in 2022 filmmaker/researcher Randall Nickerson gives viewers a deep dive back to the Ariel School Event of 1994. Combining both Leach's and Mack's video interviews with new interviews of many of the witnesses some twenty-five plus years on often proves amazing. It re-elevates the importance of this still unexplained event much as it should be in an age when The United States of America government/military has finally admitted to the existence of unexplained flying phenomenon. I think Nickerson has done a service to the larger need for open and transparent disclosure on what has been closeted for myriad reasons - including the always hovering one of ridicule. Bringing The Ariel School Event back into the public eye with actual witnesses is simply fascinating. As such I feel this is a very important film.
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This Film is something reall special.
monkmc3 June 2022
I´m a 100 percent UFO and ET Nerd. I read everything I can get my hands on. I started reading about abductions and then I moved over to the spiritual and consciousness aspect of the whole phenomenon. Many docs are way too fear based.

The films by Steven Greer are quite good but they are a bit too heavy material. This crowd funding film grew organically. They worked over 10 years on it.

I waited 4 years. And one day when I stepped out of my meditation cave I saw the mail that the film has finally arrived. I watched it 3 times in a row and I want to see this film hitting the big stage.

Love this piece of art. Someone complained about the camera work or the fact that one of the witnesses has too much screen time.

Who cares. The Overall picture is great. Its a lovely little documentary about one of the most interesting UFO landing cases AC.
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A Must-See for both UFO enthusiasts and skeptics alike.
AlienLover300030 May 2022
Warning: Spoilers
This goes into much more detail than the short clips you saw in James Fox's The Phenomenon regarding the Ariel School UFO sighting in Zimbabwe. I had goosebumbs and chills for the majority of the film as the witness testimony is both spinechilling and awe-inspiring at the same time.

There's one aspect of the encounter (and other UFO encounters reported throughout history as I've now learned) that isn't discussed often in the UFO phenomenon. Without spoiling it all for you, but it concerns the way the alien beings move or walk (as if in slow-motion) that is just riveting. That was my first WOW moment watching this. You have to hear it from the witnesses to really wrap your head around it.

It's probably a blessing in disguise that it had taken so long for this documentary to be released now in 2022 (with US Congress openly discussing their UFO encounters this month), this film will have bigger impact.

Once you accept the UFO reality for how it's presented by what these schoolchildren saw, then one has to ponder the bigger mysteries of the universe, and that's where the final 15mins of the movie is its most impactful. Overall, this is essential viewing and must not be dismissed.
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One of those shows everyone should see.
hotjanuary9 July 2022
Anyone who likes documentaries or has an interest in UFOs or anyone who breaths air will find this show interesting.

Unlike many UFO shows/series/documentaries it avoids a spooky movie theme. Instead it focuses on how this 1994 event affected the people who were there.

It is the first 10/10 I've ever given.
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brettjmerle25 February 2023
This is remarkable documentary for many reasons.

First of all, I can't really think of a better strictly anecdotal case of the UFO/Alien phenomenon than this case. The production team does a wonderful job capturing the event from the perspective of these children while neatly threading it through the lens of that investigation that followed. It's really quite compelling. If you think that 60 kids made this up, with zero incentive to do so, and have maintained their position almost 30 years later, well, quote the cynic you are.

What is most moving was the way this documentary captured the emotional and sociological impact this sighting had on some of the kids as they aged and became adults. To believe so strongly that you saw something which has enormous existential impact on not just you but your entire race, but with no way to prove it in any meaningful or cathartic way, is a heavy burden to wear. The documentary does a great job capsulizing this.
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Amateur documentary looking for direction
alexander-bogdan31 July 2022
First off I would like to say that I've always been fascinated by the Ariel School encounter case, and I am convinced that it's real, whatever it was.

I've been waiting for this documentary to be released for several years, and I am really surprised that it has actually seen the light of day, with all the delays and difficulties that the filmmakers apparently faced.

Can't say it was worth the wait though. The film has a lot of footage from 1994, including John Mack's interviews with children, that I haven't seen before, which was quite interesting to see.

This archive footage is mixed with the newly filmed material, which is unfortunately very poorly made. The cinematography is bland and unimpressive, the story of some of the experiencers visiting the school almost 30 years later feels very artificial, forced and amateurish.

The new interviews with the experiencers are also quite disappointing. I think it was a huge missed opportunity. If only there had been someone like John Mack or at least an experienced journalist or interviewer to really make these people talk, the movie would have been so much better.

The biggest problem with the film as a whole is that it lacks any direction or development. To me it seemed like a mess of disjointed material, that the creators failed to organize in any coherent manner.

The movie is over 1.5 hours long and it fails to find direction, or to engage you with the story. You can decide for yourself if it's worth your time, but I think it's not worth the money they are asking for steaming it.
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Ariel Phenomenon is a very good movie about an Amazing Event of Marvel and Wonder
I had been waiting to view for this movie for literally years, and when it finally came out -- it did not disappoint.

The director did a very good job fitting together footage from 1994 when the encounter occurred, along with more recent filming of the same witnesses years later as adults. Salma Siddick and Emily Trim are both particularly compelling ... and believable (!)

There was also good use of background material to fill in the details and form a whole picture of the event, including the experiences of the BBC's Tim Leach and Harvard's Dr. John Mack. (About the only quibble I have with the presentation is the interesting, but extraneous, delving into Dr. Mack's background and problems at Harvard with the University administration and other faculty members. While interesting on its own, all this would likely have occurred even if Dr. Mack had had nothing to do with investigating the Ariel Phenomenon. As such it is an extraneous - lasting approx. 10 min. - off-topic frolic away from the Ariel event.)

Nonetheless, I highly recommend the movie to anyone with an interest in UFOs and alien encounters.
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Liked it quite a bit, but...
smokeysmokeysmokey9 June 2022
Cannot wait for a director's cut. Honestly wanted it to be longer (30+ minutes). I would say self-hosting the film for streaming was a miscalculation and a bad idea. Randy and company should put the film up on a various pay-to-rent streaming platforms to allow for a more seamless rental experience.

The process of streaming the film is too involved and has too many issues, even still. Could not get the film to play for me in Safari at all. Got it to play in Firefox, but at first also had issues in Firefox. In both browsers I turned off all browser extensions, to be sure that was not the issue. It was not. In Firefox playing also failed for me once mid-film. Had to start over and find where I was in the timeline again. Try hosting a home viewing of the film with these playback issues. I would not.

Crowd-funders should be offered a download file to keep, as was promised six years ago during a crowdfunding round. Crowd-funders should not need to wait down the line for this.

I give Randy ten stars largely because of the years and sheer effort involved in bringing this project together into this film, which I believe to be a true story.

I find people who cannot accept these legit events with many obviously sincere witnesses, do so out of fear. We do not control the universe. Our bodies and egos die at end of our lives, guys... get over yourselves.

The soul or spirit are our real energy bodies. Our consciousness or awareness extends beyond the body, through our eyes and our other senses. We will never be able to figure all of this out scientifically, because consciousness is involved in the phenomenon. Look to phenomena such as human-to-animal and animal-to-human communication (otherwise known as animal-to animal communication) to get a peek into the possible in consciousness (many documentaries on YouTube on these subjects. You will say this cannot be real until the day you except it as real).

We are conscious beings living in an interconnected web of consciousness. Until people can admit to this truth we will never be able to evolve much further beyond throwing technology at every problem. Technology will evolve, but we won't really. In fact, as technology evolves there's a good chance we could devolve. We are the key to our problems. Our stubbornness and our closed-mindedness prevents us from seeing larger realities and unlocking the impossible. Not technologically, but reality wise.

How did the beings hop across the ground without touching the ground? How did they appear to move in slow motion and yet move around the children from place to place very quickly? Why did the scenes witnessed by the children appear to repeat themselves over and over from their perspective? What is awareness? How could the beings transmit images and see into the minds of the children without speaking? Consciousness is our bigger reality and the key to all of these questions.

Randy, please consider putting the film up on Vimeo and try your best to get the film up on Netflix streaming service. I'm not on Prime, but I'm sure Prime users would be happy to have it there, too. This would encourage myself and others to tell more people to go watch the film. Currently would be uncomfortable telling people to go watch, considering the issues I had playing the film. This was after all of the technical streaming issues were supposed to have been fixed. You need to meet viewers where they are and give them what they want.

Very glad Randy didn't allow Hollywood to "sci-fi" the film. Frankly, I would have preferred even less music in the film, especially regarding any music that sounded even remotely "sci-fi". Classical music is where it's at for this documentary.
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It took time, but a masterpiece only worthy of the event
ron-686-1767827 February 2023
I strongly recommend this movie, regardless of your personal beliefs. I've always wondered why the 'Ariel event' of 1993 hadn't received more publicity, given with all the movies and shows on the subject of UFO's and the growing popularity, open mindedness and acceptance of and about UFO's and extra terrestrials. With such fantastic eye witnesses accounts you'd think that this would be the mainstay story right up there and like Roswell. Maybe because they have been working on producing a movie worthy of that incredible 1993 day in Zimbabwe, South Africa. This movie on the account of multiple UFO's landing in a school and many school children eye witnesses of not only the space craft landing BUT ACCTUAL ALIENS STARING AT THEM OUT SIDE OF THE CRAFT. Mind blowing. If after seeing this movie you still believe that there is no such thing as UFO's and aliens then frankly there is something wrong with you...
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Disappointing after so many years in production
iwantatoupee31 July 2022
I've been following this case for nearly three decades. I've been waiting for this documentary for many years also. It's been in production since about 2008, I think.

I cannot believe this is the finished product. Even the story of the aliens landing and the children seeing them and the spaceship isn't told very well.

It's disjointed and so much that could have been in just isn't here.

I would have liked a detailed story of what actually happened in the first 50 minutes of the documentary, and then an analysis of what other people in the UFO scene thought back then and now. Then we could have had interviews of the children back then and now.

But this documentary is all over the place. For some reason which I cannot fathom, the documentary centers on one girl who was at the school and is now a grown woman. She goes back there and her visit, to be honest, isn't interesting. It's what happened back then we're crying out to see and hear.

So much is wasted on her and her mental state. There are some familiar faces of the children then and now. But these interviews are in snippets, short, and don't add much.

There's also a lot spent on the humiliation Dr John Mack suffered but why put this in? Surely it would have been better to keep this out. Don't harm the man's reputation needlessly. Don't question it. Praise him. It's not the duty of this documentary to state the alien landing did not happen. That it was a dream of some sort. It's not the duty to say Dr Mack was stupid to believe it. Children don't lie.

All in all, a disappointing documentary. I'd waited so long and the best things in it are the interviews with the children, nearly 30 years ago.
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Waited an eternity for this to came out then gave up
thebogofeternalstench10 November 2022
Warning: Spoilers
I was following the production of this documentary on social media, with lame replies from Randall and crew saying be patient, it's coming, etc etc etc. This was well over 7 years ago! Year after year went past and their replies just went dead all of a sudden, so I thought, you know what, I'm done waiting and gave up on them. I also deleted my social media account over 3 years ago. So they probably updated the status of their documentary at some point and obviously I never got to see it.

Then I was watching the 'Bedtime Stories' channel on youtube recently (highly recommend) who did a story about this, and suddenly remembered the documentary. So I looked it up expecting it to still be dead in the water only to find out in was released May of this year! I only watched the documentary because Ariel School is up there with one of my favourite UFO/Alien stories.

Wow....we waited this long for this? Terribly filmed with what looks like cheap DSLR cameras or even a smart phone with a film app for that matter, by someone who is obviously a terrible cameraman. While I appreciate the effort put into making this, it just fell utterly flat on it's face.

The only interesting bits worth watching are the 1994 segments of the children being interviewed and everything filmed back then. You will see footage you haven't seen on youtube before. The rest is disjointed, rushes through interviewers with the now adult children, and spends most of it's time filming Emily Trim, without delving into what she really experienced and felt. She also became annoying.

Just totally disappointing. This doco just doesn't get into the grit of the story and neglects the other witnesses. For example getting them all together or having people deeply interested with their experiences talking to them etc etc. So many things could have been done but no.
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