Netflix’s highly acclaimed UNTOLD series of sports documentaries is back with a bang in UNTOLD: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist. This two-part film unravels the bizarre story that captivated sports fans and the public alike in 2012. It revolves around Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, who emerged as a Heisman Trophy candidate in the Fighting Irish’s undefeated regular season. However, amidst personal tragedy, it was revealed that Te’o’s girlfriend, who he dedicated his season to, was nothing more than a fabrication.
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The Unbelievable Tale of Manti Te’o
An All-American football player on one of the most esteemed teams in college football, Manti Te’o’s inspirational story took an unexpected turn. Days after the conclusion of the 2012 college football season, reports emerged that his supposed girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, never actually existed. This revelation introduced the concept of “catfishing” to millions for the first time, uncovering an elaborate fiction crafted by Naya Tuiasosopo, an acquaintance of Te’o’s.
A Compelling Addition to Netflix’s UNTOLD Series
The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist is part of Netflix’s UNTOLD series, which has gained significant acclaim. This standalone documentary follows the success of five exceptional films released in 2021. It stands shoulder to shoulder with ESPN’s renowned 30 For 30 series, offering some of the finest sports content available on Netflix.
Insightful Interviews with Key Figures
The documentary provides a well-rounded perspective with interviews from both Manti Te’o and Naya Tuiasosopo. Tuiasosopo, who has since come out as a transgender woman, sheds light on the intricate web of deception. Te’o speaks with utmost sincerity and reveals the immense burden he has carried since his early days, appearing mature beyond his years.
A Tragedy Unveiled
The story of Manti Te’o and Lennay Kekua is truly astonishing, even in the world of college football where unbelievable things happen regularly. To appreciate its complexity, it is essential to understand the context. Notre Dame stands out as a premier football brand, steeped in tradition and adored by many. Te’o’s arrival on campus signaled a new era for the team, transforming them from mediocrity to relevance.
A Lesson in Nuance and Context
The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist treats this tale as the tragedy it is and not a mere farce, as many initially portrayed it. The documentary delves into the pressures Te’o faced throughout his life and Tuiasosopo’s struggles with dysphoria. While no one is excused for their actions, the film offers a necessary dose of nuance and context, reminding us that these are real people caught in a perplexing web of deceit.
A Must-Watch Documentary
Netflix continues its streak of delivering exceptional documentaries with UNTOLD: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist. This film stands as a testament to the inexplicable nature of human behavior and the profound impact it can have on individuals’ lives. Stream it without hesitation and prepare to be enthralled by this unbelievable story.
Scott Hines is an architect, blogger, and avid internet user based in Louisville, Kentucky, who publishes the widely-beloved Action Cookbook Newsletter.