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Netflix's new number one movie is a must for true crime fans

This latest Netflix number one brings up questions of consent, race, power and more

Netflix's new number one movie is a must for true crime fans
Andrew Williams
21 June 2024

Netflix has a new number one film in the US, and it’s a must-watch for fans of true crime docs.

Tell Them You Love Me is a documentary, the story of Anna Stubblefield and Derrick Johnson, a non-verbal man with cerebral palsy.

Stubblefield is a University professor who offered to help Johnson communicate, but begins a sexual relationship with the man. Johnson’s mother says he is not capable of consent, and accuses the Ethics professor of sexual assault.

This strange tale begins in 2011, and ends in a trial recounted in Tell Them You Love Me.

One accusation is Stubblefield manipulates the man using a the method she employs to supposedly help him communicate, a keyboard.

It has shot to the number spot over the the US. The only bad news is it’s only available in the US and Canada on Netflix at the moment.

“I came to this story originally via a New York Times article, maybe 10 years ago, and I was riveted by it,” says Tell Them You Love Me executive producer Louis Theroux. Yep, him from all those classic documentaries.

“It sat on the fault lines of so many big social questions — around race, sexuality, and, yes, disability.”

The film was directed by Nick August-Perna, who co-directed a 2021 film about the opioid crisis called The Oxy Kingpins.

Tell Them You Love Me picked up solid reviews at its original release earlier in 2024.

The Evening Standard gave it a 4/5 score, calling it “a breath of fresh air that feels genuinely balanced and intellectually curious.”

The Guardian, too, gave Tell Them You Love Me a 4/5 score, saying it’s “a hard watch, but it is also a vital one.”

It includes interviews with plenty of the key figures in this eye-opening story, including Derrick Johnson’s mother and brother, and Anna Stubblefield herself. At roughly 104 minutes this one is no drawn-out slog either.