Netflix UK film review: Tabloid
Ivan Radford | On 25, May 2013Reading time: 2 mins
Director: Errol Morris
Cast: Joyce McKinney
“Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess…” Thus starts the biopic of Joyce McKinney, an odd, bubbly and likeable sixty-something with an outrageous past. Tabloid is a tale of love, kidnapping, scheming newspapers, silly disguises, an evil cult and magic underwear. It’s also a documentary.
Joyce was a Wyoming beauty queen. She claims to have been a wholesome and innocent young lady. When she moved to Utah, she fell head-over-heels for Kirk, and we are led to believe by Joyce that this was reciprocated. There’s a catch: Kirk and his family are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Mormons.
One day, Kirk mysteriously disappears, so Joyce tracks him down to England and, with help, kidnaps Kirk at gunpoint from outside a Mormon church. Kirk, once “free”, is returned to the Mormons. Joyce claims they brainwashed him and that they were going to get married. Kirk and the Mormons claim Kirk was raped and have her charged with wrongful imprisonment.
Immediately, the UK tabloids pick up the story. Joyce is adored by The Express’ reporter Peter Tory, who takes her side. Not as innocent as she claims, The Mirror dig up Joyce’s hidden past, resulting in a very public media showdown. Her scandalous tale is lapped up by the British public long before Jade or Jordan made us all too blasé to care about such things.
With frequent and hilarious input from the clearly barking Joyce, contributions from the two opposing journalists who can’t get enough of her, and the guiding narration of Errol Morris, this is one of the funniest and strangest documentaries you will ever see. And that’s without mentioning the cloning of her dog.
It should be utter trash, but Tabloid works as a story of how far one person will go for love.