Tabloid

Tabloid

Documentarian Morris has always been attracted to eccentric characters, and he found a doozy in one Joyce McKinney, the subject of his latest feature Tabloid.

I'd say that the less you know about McKinney in advance, the more fun you'll have with this wild documentary about her life, but here's the basic summary: In 1977, this would-be model from North Carolina, who claims to have an IQ of 168, believed that her Mormon boyfriend had been abducted by his "cult" (a term open to interpretation, given your feelings about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). So she flew to England with an accomplice in order to free the man she loved from what was, in reality, just his missionary work. After spending a weekend together, the guilt-plagued boyfriend allegedly changed his story about what really happened and claimed he was kidnapped, tied up, even raped.

What follows is at first a compelling examination of the Mormon church's beliefs, then a bizarre, often hilarious portrait of McKinney herself, focusing on the media frenzy that erupted in the UK in the wake of her lost weekend.

Although I feel one may have to strain to find the cultural relevance of Morris's film, despite its release mere days after the UK tabloid News of the World went down in flames for criminal journalistic practices, there's no denying that it's tremendously entertaining. The story takes one strange turn after another, and the ebullient, moon-faced McKinney - a willing interviewee who feels right at home oversharing with Morris and his camera - is a real character. She must be seen to be believed, even if you don't always believe her.