The Tinder Swindler

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Cecilie Fjellhøy in The Tinder Swindler.
Cecilie Fjellhøy in The Tinder Swindler.
Photo: Netflix


The Tinder Swindler




4/5 Stars


Posing as a wealthy, jet-setting diamond mogul, he wooed women online then conned them out of millions of dollars. Now some victims plans for payback.


Meriam Webster defines a swindler as "a dishonest person who uses clever means to cheat others out of something of value."

Therefore, it is easy to decipher what Netflix's new documentary, The Tinder Swindler, is about. Now, if you're thinking, 'okay, this must just be another Tinder date gone wrong,' add a thousand times more bizarreness to your thought because this story is absolutely wild.

A quick disclaimer: This documentary recounts actual events that have already taken place and been reported on. There are, therefore, no real spoilers that I would be sharing. And trust me, even if you've heard this story, you will need to see it to believe it.

This true-life doccie chronicles shocking yet heart-breaking stories told by Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjöholm, and Ayleen Charlotte — three of the many women who fell victim to a serial fraudster posing as a man named Simon Leviev.

Though he disguised himself under many aliases, the swindler is widely recognised as Simon, the son of Israeli billionaire and 'King of diamonds' Lev Leviev.

Using this alias, Norwegian news site VG reports, the swindler conned an estimated $10 million out of women he attracted from all over the world. And before you think, 'oh, this only happens overseas,' this man has been to South Africa and could very well have conned you (if you're active on Tinder).

I look for a few things when choosing a true-crime documentary to watch. First, of course, it needs to be interesting, but the way it is presented is what grabs me.

Felicity Morris, who produced the gripping Netflix docu-series Don't F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer, has presented this in an easily digestible way. Better yet, in a way that will keep the viewer gasping at every scheme this man pulled off. Although the storytelling jumps from Cecilie to Pernilla, you never feel lost in the story. And, of course, by the time Ayleen enters, you'll be ready to join this trio of women in taking this man down.

 \I also like the concise approach taken in telling the story of the Tinder Swindler. While I feel as though I could have watched episodes and episodes of this baffling story unfold, keeping it down to a 114-minute film was more than enough to get the point of what happened across. I find that recent docu-series are so dragged out. Take the most recent fraudster-focused true crime title, The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman, for example. I fell asleep in the second episode and just never went back.

The Tinder Swindler is something everyone should watch. As someone who has never had to use a dating app and believes, although half-heartedly, in fairy tales, I learned a lot from watching this.

Life is not a Disney movie, and if anyone ever makes it seem like it is, it is very likely too good to be true, especially if you just met the person. The world we live in is harsh and messy, and love is not all rainbows and butterflies.

That said, and having had time to think after judging the women who blissfully fell for this man's charm the minute he matched with them, I will add that my heart goes out to these women. It is easy to get side-tracked from reality when things seem as perfect as Leviev managed to make them look. I can't imagine what it must've taken for these women to speak up about what they went through. Especially because he has still not paid for the crimes he has committed against them and because they are still paying off the debt they went into because of him.

This film deserves all the publicity it can get. This man needs to be caught and if watching this doccie gets them that much closer to catching him, then every little bit counts.


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