REVIEW: A Charismatic Conman on Netflix’s New Movie, “The Tinder Swindler”

Netflix’s new movie, “The Tinder Swindler,” currently in the top 10 in 92 countries, follows a group of three women and the journalistic team of VG, a Norwegian newspaper, in their quest to get justice on an online dating con artist.

Elizabeth Insuasti, Contributing Writer

“The Tinder Swindler” is a story that looks at the peril of internet cons, online dating, and the magnetism of smooth-talking manipulators. “The Tinder Swindler” is many young single people’s worst nightmare; a simple hook-up on Tinder putting even the most cautious and clear-headed woman in the grasp of a sociopath.

This documentary is a story of the intense emotional and financial damage the victims endured. Simon Leviev, the Tinder Swindler himself, ended up frauding a string of women he met on the dating app out of a combined $10 million.

The extreme mental exhaustion and stress placed on these women were all in the name of keeping and finding love, a fairytale image that Leviev perpetuated. This image, however, was all a lie.

With Felicity Morris as the documentary’s director, “The Tinder Swindler” is presented like a journalistic exposé, utilizing dramatic editing and fast-paced storytelling to keep viewers engaged throughout the entire runtime.

The Netflix documentary is about an Israeli con man, Simon Leviev. Leviev would present himself as the son of a billionaire in the diamond industry, heir to a jewelry fortune. Under this profile on Tinder, he lured and lavishly seduced women, using their trust in him and his wealthy lifestyle to trick them out of money.

This true-crime documentary unfolds interestingly as the victims of the Tinder Swindler team up to apprehend him. It was uplifting to see the courage and willingness of the victims to admit to being fooled, in an effort to help and prevent others from experiencing the same thing.

The story unfolds through the eyes of three women who share how they were victims of his charismatic spiel and emotional manipulation. It is also a story of resilience, even revenge, as Leviev’s victims work to get their pride and some of their money back.

I was invested in each of the women’s accounts. The first woman’s story alone was enough to make me feel empathy for any woman unlucky enough to come across Simon’s path. They all bravely told their story in detail via multiple images, texts, and audio messages.

The documentary then takes a thriller approach as the investigative efforts of the Norwegian-based VG newspaper link Leviev to convicted conman Shimon Hayut.

After releasing the story exposing him, the documentary shared the social-media hate from strangers the victims faced, many calling them derogatory names. In my opinion, we’re all susceptible and vulnerable at different stages of our life, male or female, particularly from selfish people who heartlessly manipulate us with emotional love.

I agree wholeheartedly not to be critical of the three women who describe their stories. I commend their determination is not just trying to highlight the wrongdoings of Simon, but also to advertise their unfortunate irrationality and foolishness.

The film leaves plenty of questions unanswered, especially lacking closure on any true justice being served for Leviev. But its lack of a perfect ending is just a testament to the reality of how life often plays out.

I would definitely recommend giving this film a watch!

Elizabeth Insuasti is a Contributing Writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, contact her at [email protected]