As its name suggests, this documentary centers around one of the biggest news items of the past century: the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. In 2007, three-year-old ‘Maddie,’ as we have come to know her, went missing in Praia da Luz, Portugal, allegedly from the apartment where her family was on vacation.
The Netflix film, called The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, has been called sensitive and features an exhaustive timeline of what happened from the moment the small child was discovered missing. Still, it would seem that despite efforts to get facts right for the documentary, some key elements were missing from the narrative.
10 The Parents
The most obvious ‘missing piece’ from the documentary is Maddie’s mom and dad, Kate and Gerry’s input. The couple, both intelligent and doctors by profession, refused to co-operate with the film producers, fearing the film would fuel conspiracy theories.
The couple told media they were primarily concerned that the film would be a hindrance to the ongoing investigations into Maddie’s disappearance. Instead, they voiced their desire to continue to search for their little girl, who has now been missing for 11 years.
9 From The Mouth Of A Babe
According to Maddie’s mom, Kate, in her book, Madeleine: Our Daughter's Disappearance and the Continuing Search for Her (published in 2011), Madeleine asked an interesting and possibly revealing question at breakfast on the day she went missing: “Why didn’t you come when Sean and I cried last night?”
This could be an important detail in the little girl’s disappearance which the documentary leaves out. The film’s reviewers have suggested an expert should have been interviewed to get a professional’s opinion on what the child might have meant by such a question.
8 Without The Kids
Going out ‘without the kids’ was not unusual for the Gerry and Kate McCann, if news reports and chronicles of the girl’s disappearance are anything to go by. The film focusses on how the night she disappeared, her parents had left her alone in the room with her twin siblings. But truth be told, they did this fairly often. On the evening in question, however, she went missing.
It was not mentioned in the documentary that Gerry and Kate went out to dinner many times while leaving their children in the apartment in Portugal.
7 Conspiracy Theories Abound
There have been many theories about what happened to Madeleine McCann. It is then understandable that a film cannot possibly cover all of these. Still, the documentary seems to leave out many theories and sticks to what viewers possibly already know.
One report comments that there are as many as nine theories about what happened to the child on the evening of her disappearance and that the Netflix film falls disappointingly short of covering these. To be fair, however, no one actually knows what happened on May 3, 2007, when Madeleine went missing.
6 The Call For People With Information
The film calls for those with information pertaining to the small child’s disappearance to come forward to assist investigators. What it fails to mention is that since she went missing, literally thousands have come forward to assist with the investigation into Maddie's disappearance.
It is alleged that there have been close to 12,000 ‘sightings’ of the young girl. The film also doesn’t quite capture the extent of the false information and fake leads which the alleged kidnapping of Maddie has generated.
5 The Intensity Of Media Coverage
The much-criticized documentary doesn’t quite capture how ruthless and intense media coverage following Madeleine’s disappearance became. The media had what you could call a field day, and Gerry and Kate bore the brunt of intense public criticism and scrutiny.
Coverage of the case was many times targeted against the McCanns and crossed the line of being sensational and ruthless. The role the media played in the unfolding of the story wasn’t sufficiently depicted in the film.
4 The Twins Who Sleep Through Everything?
Glaring holes in the explanations of Maddie’s disappearance exist. People who have followed the case closely will know that on the night she went missing, Madeleine's twin siblings, Amelia and Sean, were in the room with her.
However, how these two managed to sleep through what possibly was a big commotion (while Maddie was taken) remains unexplained – and the film doesn’t attempt to explain this. Why didn’t the twins wake up while Maddie was being taken? Why doesn’t the documentary attempt to explain this?
3 Strange Behavior
So much has been reported about Maddie’s parents’ alleged strange behavior after her disappearance. The general public consensus was that something wasn’t quite right about their responses to her alleged kidnapping. Perhaps it was just ‘he said she said’ and the effects of a ruthless media.
Still, the film didn’t quite sufficiently cover the suspicions that followed Maddie’s disappearance on the evening of May 3, 2007. Though the public has since given the McCanns the benefit of the doubt, the series could have included that the couple is in the medical field and that acting cool and collected is something that comes to them quite naturally – even in the event of a disaster.
2 The Girl Who Was ‘Maddie’
Strange things have happened since Madeleine McCann disappeared. The documentary covers some of these, but not all of them. For example, there was once a girl who actually claimed to be Madeline McCann.
She had something ‘Maddie’ about her that went beyond sheer madness and this led to her taking center stage in the media for a while – a few days, at least. Still, the film included none of this or other events which would have added more interest to its coverage of the Madeleine McCann story.
1 Confusing Behavior
How did Mom McCann really behave on the night her daughter went missing? The film’s explanation for her behavior immediately after the event is a little confusing if viewer comments are anything to go by. Did Kate run to others to tell them what happened or did they run to her after hearing her screaming?
The film seems to say both. The series should have explored Kate McCann’s behavior immediately after the incident in greater depth. This, like it or not, is a crucial detail in the case, and those following the case have expressed a desire to know exactly what Kate did when she couldn’t find Maddie.