Tabloid

"Extraordinary"

Tabloid Review


The events expertly, and entertainingly, chronicled in this documentary not only feature an outrageously twisty story, but they make a serious point about our tabloid culture and the monsters it creates. Or encourages.

As former beauty queen Joyce McKinney tells her story, it becomes clear that she's playing up her dumb blonde image, painting herself as a victim of the ruthless tabloid press. But she has an IQ of 168, and her story boggles the mind. At age 19, she fell in love with Kirk Anderson, a good Mormon boy who was sent to England for his missionary assignment. Joyce thought he had been kidnapped by the cult, so in 1978 she travelled to England with an investigator, a bodyguard and a pilot (Shaw) to release Kirk from the church.

Here's the accounts diverge dramatically: according to Kirk, Joyce tied him to a bed and tried to get pregnant. But she paints their days together as a romantic getaway, claiming that he was intimidated into testifying against her in court. From here the film outlines her bail-jumping escape back to America, her elaborate disguises and her tortured relationship with British journalists.

One of these (Tory) let her tell her story, while another (Gavin) exposed her torrid past as a kinky sex worker.

It's a pity that Anderson refused to be interviewed for this film, because he could have provided a telling counterpoint. On the other hand, his absence makes this film all the more compelling, as it both deepens the mystery and gives some weight to McKinney's Mormon-conspiracy theory. Clearly, McKinney is "barking mad", as Tory says, but she's also articulate and sharply funny (sometimes intentionally). So wherever the truth lies, we can't help but like her a little.

Morris assembles this with a sublime sense of style, using elements of classic films, astonishing home movies and, yes, lots of tabloid headlines to pull the story together. And then he reveals that the story doesn't end there, as Joyce talks about her experience with her beloved dog Booger, whom she cloned in Korea after he died. Honestly, combining a story of a chained-up sex-slave missionary with cloned puppies is simply genius. And it's not easy for us to pick our jaw off the floor at the end.



Tabloid

Facts and Figures

Run time: 87 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th November 2011

Box Office USA: $0.7M

Distributed by: IFC Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Fresh: 105 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Julie Ahlberg, Mark Lipson

Also starring:

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