Girl in the Picture

One more documentary this morning. It was a tough one.

Girl in the Picture was on Netflix and was directed by Skye Borgman. It was based on the books A Beautiful Child and Finding Sharon by author Matt Birkbeck. It tells the story of a young woman, a victim of a hit and run driver, and her harrowing life of abduction and abuse at the hands of the man she believed was her father, Franklin Delano Floyd.

This is a remarkable tale with a bunch of horrific instances. We were introduced to the young woman as Sharon Marshall, a kind, friendly teenager who was a friend to all, but who had a nightmare of a father.

Nightmare is too kind of an adjective to describe Franklin Floyd.

Floyd had multiple aliases during his life and had kidnapped Sharon’s son, Michael, after she had been killed. Though it had never been proven, it was believed that Floyd had run Sharon over with his car.

When he showed up again, Michael was not with him either.

A portrait of sexual abuse and use of Sharon to make money for sex was painted, showing was a terrible life the young girl was trapped in. Yet, everyone who talked about Sharon spoke to her kindness and how wonderful of a friend she was. This is the strength of the documentary. It did not focus on the life of the sociopathic Floyd as much as it did on the woman who survived years with him and did not allow those years to color her personality.

This doc included interviews with many of the investigators who had spent so much of their time trying to find the answers to this mystery. The doc weaved the moments together that took the story in a different path in a well constructed manner. Matt Birkbeck became one of the talking heads in the doc. When he got involved, there was another push to learn about the true identity of Sharon, who they had learned was kidnaped by Floyd and was not his actual daughter.

The documentary was engrossing as the story unfolded. You knew that there was tragedy in the tale, but, in the end, there was a hopefulness about it as a group of people came together to finally honor Sharon and to discover who she really was.

4 stars

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