Dave White
Tabloid Review

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Real Housewives have nothing on Joyce...

Who's In It: Joyce McKinney

The Basics: The latest documentary from Errol Morris dives deep into the lunacy pool with the tale of Joyce McKinney, an American who became a late-1970s tabloid "celebrity" in the U.K. when she arrived in England to track down the man she believed to be her destiny, a strict Mormon she "liberated"/kidnapped, chained up and had tons of sex with. She did this in the name of love and because she is, pretty objectively speaking, absolutely crazy. Later in life, she re-entered the tabloids for another strange, controversial reason that's best left for the movie to divulge. (Hint: It doesn't involve bondage sex with Mormon missionaries but it's still pretty weird.)

What's The Deal: On one level, the world has caught up with Errol Morris and his obsession with documenting the oddballs of humanity. This a guy who made his name with films about real-life pet cemeteries, eccentric inventors and lion trainers. The problem is, though, that reality TV has pushed us even further, right into the lives of people who can't stop eating the polyurethane cushions in their sofa or who openly conduct personal relationships with mechanical sex robots. But what sets Morris apart is his affection for his subjects, his respect for human variance, his intelligent filmmaking and his willingness to ask all the questions you hope he will. If sensationalistic shows like Freaky Eaters and My Strange Addiction were run by Morris then they'd be as dark, deep and funny as you always hope they'll be but never really are.

What Joyce McKinney Needs Most: Her own talk show. This woman knows how to hold the camera. She never shuts up, she's never boring, she's got plenty of stories, even more digressions, huge reserves of self-esteem, the energy of three people excitedly talking at once and what seems like the ability to get anyone she comes into contact with to do exactly what she wants. Now that Oprah's gone there's a void that needs filling and the result would be be at least as fascinating as an episode of Between Two Ferns.

What Might Rub You The Wrong Way: In addition to his admirable qualities, Morris also seems to find his subject to be hilarious. And she is. For some people this will amount to mockery, ridicule, condescension or exploitation or a person who is suffering some serious delusional thought. But she signed the release, which means she's on board for at least some of this film's audience deciding that she's entertainingly nuts.


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