Documentary Review: Netflix’s “The Tinder Swindler” (2022)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

We know that nobody is perfect. We have our flaws, faults and try to learn from them. We know that the system we live in is not perfect. Do we take advantage of it, no? Because that’s pretty much knowingly breaking the law. Because the same system that is designed to protect us has a negative side that it clearly does not know how to handle. Therefore, people like Shimon Hayut aka Simon Leviev know how to avoid the legal system and get away with crime. In this case, defrauding innocent victims from the Tinder dating website.

“The Tinder Swindler” is perhaps the most shocking and well-crafted documentary of 2022, that I am pretty sure will be seen by more people than the number actually reveals. It tells the story of three European women who fell in love with the same guy on the Tinder dating website. He presented himself as the son of the Russian-Israeli mogul Lev Leviev who has so much money that he travels the world and stays only at five star hotels. He has private jets and can travel to another country to visit his victim just for a coffee. He creates an impression of a loving, caring and gentle man. Then, he creates the scenario in which he begins to ask for a large sum, not just from one woman but dozens, at least. In short, he was successfully using a Ponzi scheme to continuously deceive his new victims non-stop.

Director Felicity Morris creates an excellent and mind-blowing atmosphere for Netflix, narrating the story in such a way, you will be in awe the entire time. We are introduced to Simov Leviev’s (Shimon Hayut) three victims, Ayleen Charlotte, Pernilla Sjöholm and Cecilie Fjellhøy who begin to share their stories with us no matter how embarrassing it would sound to them, but way too brave for all of us.

Obviously, they share with passion and heartbreak, because everything you are about to hear is fascinating. But if you follow them closely, you will be shocked and pleasantly surprised at the way Ayleen Charlotte was able to, one way or another, get some money back from Leviev. Extraordinary, but be ready to root for her, because what she did was absolutely brilliant.

As I try on purposely to leave some techniques Leviev used to defraud his victims from dating websites, I highly recommend not to read about it much, the way I did, and just watch the whole story at once. I can assure you, it’s better than any nail-biting suspenseful thriller. Even though it’s the documentary genre, have no doubt, it’s much better than any film you will see in 2022. Smart, wicked, funny and tragic, expect nothing short of a jaw-dropping story from “The Tinder Swindler” which you will talk about long after the credits fade to dark.

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