Skip to main content

Netflix’s latest true crime doc rockets to No.1 — and is 92% on Rotten Tomatoes

Netflix on TV with remote control in foreground
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

This year Netflix has cemented itself as the go-to streaming service for true crime fanatics with a slew of docuseries and movies exploring shocking crimes and hard-to-believe real-life stories. So, it's no surprise that the streamers just added another true crime doc to its library, and it’s one of the most shocking yet. 

Girl in the Picture landed on Netflix earlier this week (Wednesday, July 6) and is making a serious splash. The feature-length documentary is pulling in very impressive reviews, and shocked viewers are already taking to social media to discuss its harrowing subject matter. 

Less than 48 hours after release the true crime doc has rocketed straight to the top of the Netflix most-watched list, it's now ranked as the No.1 movie on Netflix U.S. It's even managed to displace Kevin Hart comedy The Man from Toronto which had been sitting at the summit unchallenged for more than a week. 

We also wouldn't be surprised to see it earn a spot on our best Netflix movies list once we've had time to digest its shocking content. 

What is Girl in the Picture about?  

Helmed by the same director as 2017’s Abducted in Plain Sight, which was itself a massive success for Netflix, Girl in the Picture recounts the twisty story of a young mother’s death. The case seems to start with a confusing and mysterious photo that raises concern.

What starts out as a seemingly straightforward hit-and-run case soon becomes a whole lot more complicated as the decades-long mystery of the woman’s true identity comes to light. 

We don’t want to delve too far into specific, as most true crime fans prefer to go into these documentaries knowing as little as possible, but this shocking tale also involves kidnapping, murder and a federal fugitive. 

Girl in the Picture a true crime story that is constantly shifting, and just when you think you’ve cracked the case a dramatic left-field turn spins the whole thing on its head. 

What are critics saying about Girl in the Picture? 

Girl in the Picture came out of the gate swinging with a flurry of positive early reviews, and the write-ups are only getting stronger as more and more critics stream the documentary. 

Currently, Girl in the Picture is rated 92% on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab)  and has earned a positive review from four so-called "Top Critics." The film's audience score is similarly strong at 80%. This definitely appears to be a movie that is connecting with both critics and viewers. 

The Guardian (opens in new tab)’s Lucy Mangan declares "the scale of the true-crime monstrosity will leave you reeling" and praised the doc for the fact it "still treats the victims with rare sensitivity" in a glowing four-star review. 

Nick Schager of The Daily Beast (opens in new tab) was equally impressed saying, "the particulars of its tale often threaten to blow one’s mind and bring one to tears." Similarly, Richard Roeper of The Chicago Sun-Times (opens in new tab) labels Girl in the Picture "an astonishing, horrific, fascinating and complex true-crime story."

Christy Lemire, writing for RogerEbert.com (opens in new tab), said "Girl in the Picture jumps around in time as it introduces new clues and players to provide perspective, but it’s consistently coherent and well-paced." 

Should you stream Girl in the Picture?  

A photo of a child from Girl in the Picture.

(Image credit: Netflix)

If you’re a fan of true crime then you’ve probably already got Girl in the Picture added to your watchlist, and based on the early buzz you probably don’t want to wait long before committing to viewing to ensure you don't have anything spoiled. 

If you’re not quite as enamored with the genre, or you’re suffering from true crime burnout, Girl in the Picture probably isn’t the doc that will win you over. This is very much true crime at its most shocking, and while it does appear to treat the victims with an appreciated degree of respect, it’s still ultimately a movie recounting shocking real-life crimes that some viewers will find unsettling. 

Girl in the Picture appears to be a well-timed release overall. It’s been a few weeks since Netflix had a flagship true crime offering, and in the interim, the streamer has only provided subscribers with a steady stream of fairly rotten original movies. At least Girl in the Picture appears to be something a little fresher at last.  

Read next: You might want to avoid this new Netflix movie.

Rory Mellon
Rory Mellon

Rory is a Deals Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on deals, gaming and streaming. When he’s not scouring retailers for PS5 restock or writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found attending music festivals and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.