Genre: Documentary, Comedy, Drama
Cast: Real people from the deepest and darkest corners of the British Isles.
Genre: A documentary about a psychopathic girl who used social media trickery to become three different boys and seduce two clueless friends.
I’m not the biggest documentary watcher. When I watch movies I like to enjoy a sense of escapism, which is something that is mostly absent from documentary films. However, I do like to break this rule every now and then. Considering it’s my first proper post of the new year, I thought I would break tradition by writing about my favourite documentary, which aired on the UK’s channel 4 in 2012. For those of you who do not live in the UK, channel 4 documentaries are legendary because more often than not they take the piss out the subjects of the film. Channel 4’s editors are true visionaries who seem to have adopted a motto that humour can be found in every story, even the most tragic. Plus, the documentaries often have ridiculous topics like dogging or children past the age of five who still breast-feed.
The Girl Who Became Three Boys is the tragic and (surprisingly) true story of Gemma Barker, a girl who managed to seduce two of her straight friends. In this day and age, a gay person seducing a straight person is hardly news-worthy. Hell, I did it once or twice in my college days. What is so shocking about the Gemma Barker case is the way she seduced her friends. There were no drugs involved thankfully. What she did instead was create three different boys using Facebook and social media and then used those boys to get close to the two girls in question. Basically, she was a catfish. But it gets even more twisted when you find out that the two girls actually met the ‘boys’ and started serious relationships with them. How did they not know they were dating their female friend? Lord knows because she adopted a disguise every bit as complicated and rigorous as the disguises used by Sailor Moon and the Sailor Scouts.
Looking at it objectively, it is a really fucked up situation. This girl manipulated her friends, toyed with their emotions, and allegedly assaulted them. Then again the series of events is so bizarre and unusual, you would be forgiven for thinking it was the plot to a Shakespearian farce. The documentary capitalises on the inherent WTF-ness of the story and heightens it by using CGI re-enactments, the kind favoured by that Taiwanese news show, and also animated collage poster boards. You may think it was a dirty move on the part of the filmmakers to do this and to make light of a tragic situation but, after seeing interviews with the victims, you kind of feel as though it was actually the sensible thing to do.
The filmmakers manage to interview the two victims and one of them, very sensibly, decides to remain anonymous and her face is never shown. The other one…..well….let’s just say she wasn’t as smart. She comes on to the show and, bold as brass, details everything about the incident…and I mean EVERYTHING. The stuff she says is just unbelievable. Through gentle questioning from the filmmakers, you find out that she never actually saw the guy/girl’s full face because he/she always obscured it with a hat or a hoodie, and he/she never spoke to the victim. Instead, he/she used to type messages on his/her phone and then show the victim….while they were stood next to each other.
As the documentary progresses, you begin to question whether it is actually a piss-take but I assure you it is not. This is all true and there’s even a Wikipedia page dedicated to the case. I urge you to watch this documentary online (if you can find it) for two reasons. First, it’s a great example of how to make a documentary that entertains as much as it educates. Secondly, it’ll make you feel much better about yourself because you’ll come to realise that you will never be as clueless as the people in this documentary.
- So much WTF.
- “She was so clever!” No. She really wasn’t.
- Surprisingly quotable…”He gave me pleasure.”
- British humour at its finest…and most sardonic.
- It must have been a very traumatic experience for the victims.
If you watch one documentary this year, please let it be this one. It is so ridiculous and so memorable you will be talking about it for days. It is available in some corner of the internet so there is no excuse not to watch it.