Toronto True Crime Film Festival: The Stranger

A woman’s relationship with a man she meets on Facebook turns out to be too good to be true in The Stranger. Amanda Kastrup is a single mother, who is randomly messaged by a woman on Facebook, trying to set Amanda up with the woman’s cousin Casper. It isn’t long before Amanda is in contact with Casper himself, who is reported to be the heir to one of the richest families in Denmark. The two quickly fall for each other and Casper moves in with Amanda. However, after being in a relationship with this man for 100 days, Amanda is shocked to discover that Casper isn’t the man he is describing himself to be.

The Stranger is a hybrid documentary film from director Nicole Nielsen Horanyi that sees Amanda Kastrup reenact her relationship with Casper, played in the reenactments by actor Esben Dalgaard Andersen. While many documentaries feature interviews and reenactments separately, The Stranger merges the two into a single narrative. This includes Amanda and others speaking directly to the camera and describing the situation, as well as Horanyi interrupting the reenactments off camera to ask Amanda some questions about the current moment.

For all intents and purposes, The Stranger is essentially a Danish version of the 2010 documentary Catfish and knowledge of that film and the term “catfishing” in general would make the revelation made in The Stranger easy to predict. That said, I do think that The Stranger‘s “narrative meets documentary” format is an interesting way to present this story, even though it results in a very blurred line between reality and fiction. This ends up making it difficult to view The Stranger as a true documentary and more as a unique non-fiction experimental film. However, the film is still worth checking out if you can.