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Photo: ‘Yara’

‘Yara’ – True Crime Genre

On November 26, 2010, Yara Gambriasio, a thirteen-year-old girl, went missing only a few blocks from her home. After years and years of investigation, finally, a DNA match led to a man getting life in prison for her murder. Italy was obsessed with this missing case and the country followed it for years in terror. A parent’s nightmare of their child doing their routine and getting killed for absolutely no reason. ‘Yara’ is directed by Marco Tullio Giordana and tells this true story from the perspective of the lead prosecutor Letizia Ruggeri, played by Isabella Ragonese.

The film begins with the discovery of her body and then backs up to the day she went missing. From an American point of view and never hearing about this case, it is a terrifying reality for the victim’s family and friends, but after watching the film I felt a sort of emptiness about the whole thing. After looking at other reviews from peers about the film I realized I was not alone. 

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Too Soon

The true-crime genre is a dangerous playing field due to the possibility of the family and friends may still be alive and watching the content. The recent Matt Damon film ‘Stillwater’ that is loosely based on the Amanda Knox trial in Italy was given tons of backlash because of the lack of truth and also no permission coming from Knox’s story once again being retold by a bystander. In the case of ‘Yara’, audience members are not happy with the portrayal of Yara and the amount of time that has passed, and film studios already buying the rights to a murder story. Since the story is mostly told after the disappearance of Yara, there is a lack of learning of who this young girl was and how important she was to the people around her. If the film itself was titled something different, I’m unsure if I would remember her name. 

The phrase “too soon” is very real in this case. It being a still relevant news story in Italy makes it a cringe-worthy watch for those who still see her name flash on their nightly news. Some films take years and years of writing and rewriting and production planning to make sure that what they are producing is top tier. In this case, it was a clear choice of speed being more important than quality. The story itself is the classic perspective of a detective and the hard case that has a lot of pressure on them which affects their home life as well. Her being a woman as well and facing the misogyny that is present in politics and authority. Though the key elements and details were true in the depiction of this tragic event, it was polished enough to be ready to be released to a still-grieving world.

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Low Thrills

Though it is difficult to look at this story from only the cinematic and writing point of view and leave out the idea of it being a true story, it is important to discuss. ‘Yara’ was overall a mediocre rollercoaster ride. With not many ups and downs or twists and turns, it felt more like the behind-the-scenes of a news story rather than a crime drama. Of course, the plot itself is drama, but that isn’t always enough for the audience to grab on to. It felt like a straight line of waiting for DNA results to get a hit rather than a brutal investigation of the town that is desperately trying to find this young girl. Fixing the problem wouldn’t be adding things that didn’t actually happen, but enhancing emotions and events rather than everything happening around the characters as they sulk.

Choosing a different perspective of the story and taking the route of how painful the waiting game was may have been a more engaging perspective and learning more about Yara rather than just checking the boxes of what happened.

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Looking for a positive in this movie was difficult, but looking at the real photos of Yara (which were not included in the film) and comparing them to the actors was a good note of excellent casting. That goes for most of the cast members as they strikingly resemble the real members of this story. Yara was played by Chiara Bono and though her screen time was limited, she looked a lot like the real Yara. Even the man that ended up being the killer had a very close resemblance to the real man himself, creating an even more creepy factor to the story.

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Wrap Up 

‘Yara’ unfortunately did not end up being the moving true crime film that it was set up to be. A thin line when creating a movie about any real event, but with such a sensitive subject that only happened ten years ago, was not heading in the right direction. Though the discovery of how they ended up finding the unknown assailant was interesting, the actual portrayal of the timeline was overall uneventful. If interested in the real case of Yara Gambriasio, it would be a safe route to watch the documentaries and news stories about her instead. 

Where to Watch:

‘Yara’ is available to stream on Netflix here

Actors: Chiara Bono, Isabella Ragonese, Alessio Boni, Thomas Trabacchi, Sandra Toffolati, Roberto Zibetti, Mario Pirrello |

Directed by: Marco Tullio Giordana | Written by: Pietro Valsecchi, Graziano Diana, and Giacomo Martelli | Produced by: Pietro Valsecchi|

By Jack Colin

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Black Lives Matter, in which he tackles more than just police reform, press freedom and more – click here.

An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “The Hollywood Insider fully supports the much-needed Black Lives Matter movement. We are actively, physically and digitally a part of this global movement. We will continue reporting on this major issue of police brutality and legal murders of Black people to hold the system accountable. We will continue reporting on this major issue with kindness and respect to all Black people, as each and every one of them are seen and heard.

Just a reminder, that the Black Lives Matter movement is about more than just police brutality and extends into banking, housing, education, medical, infrastructure, etc. We have the space and time for all your stories. We believe in peaceful/non-violent protests and I would like to request the rest of media to focus on 95% of the protests that are peaceful and working effectively with positive changes happening daily. Media has a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so.”

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