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The Woman Who Wasn't There review

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The Woman Who Wasn't There


Netflix has added yet another tremendous documentary to their film roster. The story of Tania Head is a story of courage, strength and triumph. Like many others, Tania Head endured a horrific tragedy during the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centers in New York. Watching it on television gave us a mere glimpse into what people live through inside the building on that heinous day. She fought through the flames, violently wounded by the impact of the plane crash and was rescued by a firefighter. If that wasn’t enough, she also suffered the loss of her husband, David, who died in the attack.

There’s just one teeny, tiny, itty, bitty detail left out of this dramatic story — She wasn’t there.

Well folks, the title says it all. ‘The Woman Who Wasn’t There’ is another awesome documentary that Netflix has allowed us film junkies the opportunity to see. The documentary is about a woman who posed as a 9/11 survivor. Her charade went on for a number of years. Through her effortless delivery and detailed account of events, no one thought to question the validity of her story.

Not only did the woman lie about being a survivor, she also fabricated a romantic relationship with one of the victims of the attack, Dave. She told her friends that he died in the attack and that they had previously had a ceremony in Hawaii and had planned on making their marriage official in October, a month before the attack. Of course, that was a lie too.

She not only lied about major details, she also lied about trivial things as well. In the documentary, one of the 9/11 survivors talks about how Tania lied about having a dog. A dog? Oh, and Tania Head isn’t even her real name.

This documentary fits into the performative category due to the personal accounts and stress of subjective experience. One of the things I liked most about the film was the use of illustrations. If you hadn’t read the title or summary, you would think that the recreations of events were well done. After finding out that the woman made it all up, it’s understood that the reason why it had to be illustrated is because there’s no footage in existence because it didn’t happen.

The pathology if this woman, Alicia (her real name), is frightening. While no one had heard from Tania for a number of years, she resurfaced in 2011. I wonder where and who she is now. She brings new meaning to the Mean Girls quote, “She doesn’t even go here.” Creepy.