REVIEW: Buzzy Netflix Doc Has A Weird Michigan Twist Ending
If you haven't seen 'The Girl In The Picture' streaming this month on Netflix, I highly recommend that you do, but be aware, there are spoilers in this article.
You May Think: There's No Way This Movie Can Have Another Twist
The True Crime Documentary 'The Girl In The Picture' has so many twists and turns it's feels like you're driving on I-196.
It revolves around a young woman found lying by the the side of a road in Oklahoma City in 1990. It appeared she was the victim of a hit and run accident.
Authorities identified her as Tonya Hughes, a stripper at a local club, who had a two year old son and a much older husband. She ended up dying two days later, which kicks the show into gear.
It turns out Tonya was well liked among the women she worked with, so they decided to contact who they thought to be her mother. But the woman stunned the ladies when she told them her daughter had died 18 years earlier.
It appeared whoever Tonya was, she had taken the identity of a toddler who died in 1972.
An Oklahoma City detective and a FBI agent investigating the case thus began a near life long quest to figure out "Tonya's" true identity.
It Turns Out Tonya Was Many People
The 20 year old woman had many different identities throughout her life, one of which was as "Sharon Mitchell", a high school student in suburban Atlanta known for her intelligence and her ability to befriend outcasts. It is here where her former classmates reveal she was so smart, she won a full ride scholarship to Georgia Tech to study aerospace engineering.
This is a key point for the emotions of the viewer, because as the layers come off and you slowly find out who she was, and what she had been through, you admire her ability to stay focused enough to earn such an honor.
I Won't Spoil It For You, Other Than To Say, It Turns Out She Was From Michigan
I highly recommend 'The Girl In The Picture' and I want you to experience it as it unfolds to appreciate the journey this woman's short life took, but I will tell you she was born here in Livonia and it's that final story that will leave you confused and wanting more of an explanation. It's also the one thing you'll need clarification with others on, as if to say, 'that can't happen, can it?'
It can, and it did, and that story needed more background. That may be the only fault I found with the film.
That being said, rest assured that as dark as "Sharon's" story can be, the story does have kind of a happy ending.
The documentary is directed by Skye Borgman, who previously directed 2017’s Abducted in Plain Sight for the streaming service. It’s based on Matt Birkbeck’s works A Beautiful Child and Finding Sharon.
Viewers Say They Were "Horrified" And "Chilled" By The Film
According to a review in the British newspaper, the Independent, viewers have a love/hate relationship to the documentary:
Girl in the Picture has been praised by viewers, with word-of-mouth recommendations sending it the top of the streamer’s most-watched charts.
However, many have been left feeling “horrified” by its events, with many calling it the most “messed up crime documentaries” of all time.
“Girl in the Picture on Netflix is absolutely one of the most horrific, sickening, frightening things I’ve watched,” one viewer wrote, adding: “I’m at a loss for words.”
“Netflix’s Girl in the Picture is one of the most devastating true-crime cases I’ve ever heard,” one fan said.
After viewing it, I felt the need to talk to someone about it, but I live alone, leaving me searching among co-workers hoping to find someone who I could share thoughts about it with. I can only tell you this: while parts leave you questioning humanity in general, others will have you admiring her resiliency and her legacy.
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