Review: The Girl Who Became Three Boys (UK, 2012)

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The Girl Who Became Three Boys is one of a number of online chat or social-networking-related crime documentaries aired by Channel 4 in the Spring of 2012. Sadly it looks as though the producers watched a little too much of TallHotBlond from 2009 which also used closeups of computer screens to present much of the web content fabricated by Gemma Barker. In this English case, instead of murder, Barker did this in order to stalk and sleep with two other girls. Barker was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for her crimes which included fraud as well as sexual assaults.

That overall presentation with the repeated clips of the same computer screens over and over followed by the wisecrack at the end of the show help to trivialise the whole case. It’s another independent documentary which Channel 4 bought and showed, but the makers proceeded to copy the structured reality style of another Channel 4 show, Made in Chelsea, by reconstructing conversations between the disclosed victim and her friend, separate to her friend’s pieces to camera being interviewed by the documentary maker. That doesn’t help anyone concerned about the veracity of the story and we don’t hear enough from the older friend of all three girls with kids of her own who saw through the deception before the victims.

It’s a missed opportunity. The Guardian reviewed it and the follow-on comments are interesting, you can find those here and the general Channel 4 page for the programme is here. It would also be watchable on Youtube with fewer ads.


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