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How could you doubt that face?

PG-13

Olmstead family as themselves

Laura (after breaking down in tears on camera): …it’s documentary gold.

This is a documentary that starts off about a 4 year old girl, Marla, who paints abstract art which sells for thousands of dollars while simultaneously calling into question what modern/abstract art really is and what makes some better than other.  But, as the true origins of the little girl’s paintings start to get called into question, the documentary takes a different turn.

This is a fascinating movie to watch.  The fact that there’s so much going on both helps and hinders the whole experience.  Any one of the subjects it touches on could probably be mined for a full length documentary on its own, but there was really no way to do that here, as the story being filmed just kept morphing right before the cameras.

I was cringing and recoiling in my seat as evidence started to seemingly emerge that would completely call into question the validity of the paintings.  Watching Marla’s father, Mark, struggle to brush off suspicious comments made by Marla herself is awkward and borderline painful.  I just feel sorry for the mom, Laura, because she seemed to know from the beginning that this experience of world-wide fame might not be good for their daughter.

You also get a good glimpse of how the media can build somebody up and then tear them down just as easily.  All it takes is one well respected show to cast you in a negative light and suddenly you’re the bad guy, and seemingly no amount of proof to the contrary will be good enough for some people.

In the end, you kind of just feel bad about watching such an intimate glimpse into this family’s life at such a tough time, and I’m sure the film makers had their reservations about it too.  But, I’m glad they made the movie, if for no other reason than to be a cautionary tale to others about the price of fame…or the price of a hoax if that’s the case with Marla.

10 – 1 for leaving me wanting more in regards to some of the subjects raised early on – .2 for just being uncomfortable to watch at times = 8.8