A group of little blonde girls flood into the frame all dressed in the same red, white and blue, pageant-like outfit. There’s a loud, overall chatter as these girls giggle and converse with each other. Among the discourse, you can hear one girl distinctly murmur “JonBenet Ramsey”. Then, the scene cuts to a little girl in said pageant outfit. She introduces herself and states she is trying out for the role of JonBenet Ramsey. She then innocently asks, “Do you know who killed JonBenet Ramsey?”
This documentary is not what you may think. The movie takes you to the Colorado town of Boulder where the infamous 1996 murder of a 6-year-old pageant girl, JonBenet Ramsey, took place. Actors are being cast for multiple roles within this real life crime that occurred 20 years ago. Women from various ages and looks audition for the role of the mother, Patsy Ramsey and older men that all seem to have gray or salt and pepper hair audition for the role of John Ramsey.
The tone of the documentary starts off as light and even humorous, which you may find odd for a rendition of a real-life crime. Each actor auditioning for a role provided their own personal, comedic anecdote and even their own guess as to what happened. However, as the movie continues on and details of the crime unfold, a more serious tone takes place and some of the characters that once shared humorous personal stories, reminisce on darker times in their life that help them relate to the grief and loss of the brutal murder of this little girl.
The audience goes through various cycles of emotion. There are times when you find yourself laughing and there are times when you find yourself on the verge of tears. Green explains the emotion brought forth by the actors were all natural and real. While those personal anecdotes were her intention, they were not forced.
The documentary also goes through the multiple theories the media picked up on as to who killed JonBenet. The theories spiral from the parents, to her brother Burke, to John Mark Karr to even the Santa Clause impersonator. The case in itself is very strange and, like Green stated in the Q & A after the viewing, we will probably never know what truly happened.
The last scene of the documentary had the different Patsy and John Ramseys acting out the different theories the night of the crime all at the same time and on the same set. Green describes it as a big community scene, where all of the actors act out their own personal grief towards the crime. While the ending was a bit confusing, Green clarified that it was meant to be a resolution to a never-ending crime that has been so publicized for the past 20 years.
The directors and producers teamed up with Netflix for the documentary. While the documentary is showing at True False a couple of more times, Netflix will release it April 28th, 2017. I would definitely recommend watching it and developing your own thoughts on the film.