Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017)

ERIN LEE CARR

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBUSA, 2017Cinematography by Produced by Music by Film Editing by .

The murder of is just the beginning of a horror story that defies the scariest tales ever made up for the movies, as strange as fiction ever was. Blanchard was found stabbed to death and the murderer was her daughter ’s boyfriend , but evidence came to light during the investigation that revealed it was Gypsy Rose who had willed the crime into being. The nightmare went deeper when it was discovered that Gypsy Rose, who had been in a wheelchair since infancy and was afflicted with a number of debilitating and uncurable diseases and syndromes, wasn’t ill: from birth, Dee Dee had convinced her daughter, the medical establishment and, likely, herself, that Gypsy Rose had a number of illnesses that eventually brought the two of them a lot of financial donations that were part of an elaborate and disturbing hoax. The child herself tells the interviewers in this film that the only element of her ailments that she was aware was a lie was her inability to walk, otherwise she had no idea that she was not sick, and that her desire to get rid of her mother was her wanting to free herself from this tyrannical parent who never let her daughter alone for a second. The details pile on, from Dee Dee’s past crimes, the family members she estranged, the psychology professionals who tell us about Munchhausen By Proxy syndrome and information on the murderer himself, whose online relationship with Gypsy Rose reveals a tragic case of two people’s loneliness and desperation. In eighty short minutes, filmmaker Erin Lee Carr manages to draw her audience into the world of this unusual and unforgettable case, the film told in the familiar format of HBO documentaries (file footage, talking heads, straight chronology) but the details potent enough to raise it above its technical conventions.

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