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  • David Zak

THE GIRLFRIEND WHO DIDN'T EXIST is a fascinating mix.


When questions of gender identity clash with big-time sports, fireworks fly. If you are interested in trans stories or love football, UNTOLD: THE GIRLFRIEND WHO DIDN'T EXIST will provide two fascinating hours on NetFlix.

For a time, Manti Te'o was the center of the college football megaverse. Driven to greatness from a humble religious background in Hawaii, Te'o left the beaches for icy Indiana, as nothing is more significant than Notre Dame football. Leading the team to an undefeated regular season, Te'o was a Heisman finalist and seemed sure to be a big-time NFL star.


Tragedy struck when both his beloved grandmother and girlfriend of three years died within hours of each other, and the impossible dream season gained even more attention as Te'o played through his pain.

But on the eve of the national championship game, reporters Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey of the sports blog Deadspin released a story claiming that the girlfriend did not exist, and the media exploded in a frenzy.


Was the hoax a coverup? Was Te'o gay? Was it possible to never have met a person in-real-life and still consider that your girlfriend? To the filmmakers' credit, this is not just Te'o's story but that of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who is now trans and living as Naya. The story of a trans person trapped in an out-of-control storyline will resonate with many.




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