Netflix is one of the best streaming services for shocking documentaries and compelling true crime, and the return of its Untold anthology series is yet more evidence that when it comes to binge-worthy docs Netflix is pretty hard to beat.
Untold is a collection of feature-length documentaries that explore the world of sport from a variety of angles. The series debuted in 2021, but the latest entry in the documentary collection, Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist, just dropped yesterday (Tuesday, August 16).
It may have only just hit the streaming service but Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist is already making a serious splash. Split into two hour-long parts, the movie has rocketed to the No. 2 spot ahead of Uncharted and Purple Hearts and could climb to the summit over the coming days. It’s also blowing up social media with viewers engrossed by its shocking twists.
What is Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist about?
Untold is a Netflix documentary series that explores “epic tales from the world of sports.” Each installment aims to dive beyond the headlines and explore stories from the perspective of those who lived them.
The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist is the sixth and latest addition to the Untold series and it tells the tale of Manti Te’o, a former Notre Dame linebacker who was infamously catfished by a family friend. This controversy blighted his career and made him a national punchline, but until now the full story hasn’t ever been told from both sides of the computer screen.
To set the scene, while playing football at the University of Notre Dame in 2009, Te’o struck up a long-distance relationship with a person by the name of Lennay Kekua. And while the two never met in person their bond deepened when Kekua was apparently injured in an auto accident and then diagnosed with leukemia.
Of course, none of that was true, and Kekua never actually existed. As the press eventually discovered, the catfish was actually an acquaintance of Te’o’s named Naya Tuiasosopo. Cue lots of embarrassment (and heartache) for Te'o and a storm of online mocking that follows him to this day.
However, Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist aims to dig deeper into this story and focuses not just on the impact the devastating revelation had on Te’o but also on what motivated Tuiasosopo's online rue — and don’t worry there are several more twists to this tale that we won’t spoil here.
What are viewers and critics saying about Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist?
In general, the Untold anthology series has been well received by critics with the first season (comprised of five separate movies) scoring a perfect 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as an equally impressive 93% audience score.
While trade reviews of The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist are currently thin on the ground, the feature-length documentary is seriously blowing up on Twitter. Case in point, the tweet below has more than 100K likes, with hundreds of viewers joining the conversation to also recommend the doc. And it’s far from the only positive take on the movie either.
Guys this documentary is insane. My mouth has dropped way too many times pic.twitter.com/xsrKBI8YqmAugust 16, 2022
A quick browse of social media brings up a wave of opinions on the doc ranging from outrage at Tuiasosopo's actions to plenty of sympathy for Te’o. The former linebacker for the San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints is currently a free agent and was widely mocked when the catfishing came to light in 2013, but this documentary aims to set the record straight and shows that he was the unfortunate victim of a cruel online lie.
Should you stream Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist?
If you enjoy slickly presented documentaries full of twists and turns then you’ll definitely want to watch Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist. With slightly lower stakes than murder or kidnapping, it also makes a nice change of pace if you’re starting to suffer from true crime burnout as well. But that’s not to say the subject matter won’t hook you from the start either.
Plus, if you enjoy The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist it’s just the start of Untold Volume 2 as three more installments are set to premiere over the next three weeks starting with Untold: The Rise and Fall of AND1 which hits Netflix on August 23.
Next: Mark Ruffalo says expect She-Hulk in the next Avengers movies and Netflix's Wednesday Addams teaser trailer is spooky and excellent. Trainwreck: Woodstock '99 is another Netflix doc you definitely need to stream.
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Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.