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Parents' Guide to

The Women and the Murderer

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Women bring down serial killer in intense docu; violence.

Movie NR 2021 92 minutes
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The Women and the Murderer is a well-paced procedural that lays emphasis on the role that passionate and smart women played in cracking a case about attacks on women. Co-director Patricia Tourancheau was a journalist who followed this serial killer case as it played out, death by grisly death, in the 1990s in Paris, and her insights and knowledge make this riveting at times. Enlisting two of the opposing attorneys who faced each other in the two-week trial, the filmmakers reenact the trial's most dramatic moment to great effect. The film is so rich with material that any number of tangential issues could easily fill up several more 90-minute documentaries, including the frequent referral to the fact that France had never had a serial killer until that time, but that America has had plenty.

The film also carefully makes the argument against those who feared a DNA database would impinge on their personal privacy, as it was a painstaking file-by-file comparison of randomly collected DNA in police files that led to the killer's capture. Chief Monteil asks if people would rather have dead girls on their consciences than figure out a quick, efficient way to run matches. Had a computerized DNA database existed in the 1990s, the killer could've been caught years earlier, saving several women's lives.

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