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Festivals Film Reviews Raindance Film Festival 2024

Review: The Man with a Thousand Faces. Thrilling and fun

  • Release year: 2024
  • Director: Sonia Kronlund.
  • Producer: Elisabeth Perez.
  • Screenplay by: Sonia Kronlund.
  • Cinematography by: Filip Drozdz, Alexander Nanau, Zara Popovici and Julien Poupard.

Synopsis: documentary about a man that juggles more women, personalities and backgrounds than clubs are juggled in a circus.

Shotgun Commentary: fascinating investigation of a conman’s life with a very satisfying ending.

Still from The Man with a Thousand Faces (Sonia Kronlund, 2024).
Courtesy of: Raindance Film Festival.

Review

The Man with a Thousand Faces (L’homme aux mille visages) is an hour-and-a-half long documentary in which a very talented crew of sleuths, with a lot of help from the victims, dissect and investigate a criminal’s life. The criminal in question is a man who dates multiple women in different countries at the same time, lying to them about his name, background and job. He even invents a specific personality, family and friends for each of the women. Gotta give it to him, he puts in the work.

Lots of questions, no answers

Ricardo, one of his most common names, is a man whose purposes are unclear. During the whole investigation, it is discovered that he borrowed some money at some point, but not enough to make him rich. This opens up the mystery of the reasons behind his behaviour. Does he hate his real background so much that he feels the need to keep changing it? Is he running away from something?

The presence of a psychologist or psychiatrist in the documentary could have shined a better light on this subject. While there is, indeed, a psychologist featured, she is one of his victims, so not really useful in this case since objectivity would be impossible to achieve.

Still from The Man with a Thousand Faces (Sonia Kronlund, 2024).

As fascinating as his possible motivations are, there is an even bigger question that will haunt the audience, specifically, the women watching the documentary: how did they not notice? Furthermore, would I notice? The documentary presents these questions early on, what can I do to avoid being a victim of people like this?

Am I safe?

Sadly, the conclusion in this regard is quite disappointing. There doesn’t seem to be any common link between women, and the director decides to leave it at that. Anyone can be a victim.

Curiously, as a person with the gift of hindsight and the insight provided by all the previous footages, when confronted with the real man, it is so easy to see his tells. He won’t stop swallowing hard, looking to the side and tweaking from time to time when he tells yet another fictional background. He doesn’t look specially handsome, nor intelligent, nor attractive, nor talented at lying. It might be the previous build-up but, when one actually sees him in action, your idea of him kinda deflates quickly. Instead of an evil mastermind, all you get is a self-absorbed, vain, little man. Which, in turn, only makes the previous questions even bigger unknowns.

Still from The Man with a Thousand Faces (Sonia Kronlund, 2024).

One could blame the patriarchy, maybe the pressure put on women to not be alone, maybe Disney and his lazy*ss princes, maybe he just got lucky with a few after trying with thousands. Whatever it might be, an additional expert on mental health probably could have provided some explanation. Maybe he has some sort of charm that is not seen on film, but it must be huge to achieve all that working with so little.

The detective work carried out is as shocking as Ricardo’s ability to juggle multiple personalities, and that is saying something. The hard work of the crew is very noticeable, the amount of research and long hour apparent in the amazingly detailed results they get of his whole life and whereabouts. Not only that, but the documentary manages to be hilarious as well as informative and entertaining.

All in all, The Man with a Thousand Faces (L’homme aux mille visages) is a must-watch for any documentary lover. Regardless of your gender, this topic is fascinating, and the ending is simply priceless. Kronlund has delivered one of the most engaging, appealing and delightful pieces of documentary filmmaking of the last few years.

Advice to take from this movie:

  • Really, REALLY get to know someone before you get pregnant with their child.
  • People aren’t always what they seem.
  • If someone seems too good to be true, it’s because they are.
Still from The Man with a Thousand Faces (Sonia Kronlund, 2024).

What’s your take? Have you watched The Man with a Thousand Faces (L’homme aux mille visages)? Did you get any answers to your questions? Did you also laugh like crazy at the end? Don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below, or leave a message in my contact page! For more reviews and cinema-related articles, check out the rest of my blog! 😀

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