Wednesday, March 21, 2012 – 7:30pm
USA 2009. Director: Barbara Schroeder
“Talhotblond” was the username of beautiful 18-year-old Jessi, a
high-school senior from West Virginia. Jessi met Tommy, a buff, brave
18-year-old soldier (username: marinesniper) in an internet chat room,
and the pair stuck up an intense, passionate, two-year on-line affair.
Without ever meeting, the pair exchanged countless instant messages,
phone calls, love letters and photographs. Their relationship reached
the point where Tommy proposed marriage. But Tommy, it transpired, was actually Tom, a balding, overweight 46-year-old factory worker and married father of two. Jessi was furious, but didn’t cut off communications. She exploited a new relationship with one of Tom’s co-workers, 22-year-old Brian (username: beefcake), whom she had also met online, to taunt Tom and inflame his jealousy. Pitting one man against the other, Jessi kept raising the stakes — until the day Brian was found dead in the factory parking lot. Tom was arrested; he pled guilty in a plea deal and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. It is only then that the true identity of Talhotblond was exposed — a revelation that rockets this true-life crime story of online identities, obsession, and deceit into the stratosphere of lurid tabloid tales. Grand Jury Prize for Documentary, 2008 Seattle International Film Festival. Colour, HDCAM. 76 mins.
Post-screening discussion with Dr. Rob Tarzwell, a psychiatrist who practices at St. Paul’s and Lions Gate hospitals. Dr. Tarzwell’s practice includes emergency psychiatry. He has been a consultant for the Addiction Medicine Service, and is a Clinical Instructor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.
Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.
“Schroeder builds suspense with an ingenious narrative device and solid cutting between multitudes of salacious instant messages and exclusive interviews.”
Variety | full review