Movie Review: A Gay Girl In Damascus tells a fascinating story, but gets sidetracked

Sophie Deraspe’s documentary A Gay Girl In Damascus: The Amina Profile is structured a little like a mystery, with a surprise twist about halfway through—although anyone who’s followed the news over the past half-decade should see the movie’s title and know the story. For those who don’t, there are spoilers ahead… that is, if a well-publicized news item can be “spoiled.” The film is about the curious case of Amina Abdallah Arraf Al Omari, a Syrian lesbian who in 2011 developed a following for a blog about her underground community’s political struggles, and then sparked an international furor when reports came out that she’d been arrested. The twist? There was no Amina. A man named Tom MacMaster was writing the blog, either to call attention to the plight of LGBT activists abroad (which was his contention) or to get his kicks messing with …

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