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Where is Nancy? documentary review

Updated: Oct 11, 2020


Directed by: Thiago Dadalt

Produced by: Dru Miller

Still from Where is Nancy? showing Nancy Paulikas.
Still Image from Where is Nancy?

People go missing all the time. Some are found while others are never seen again.

Dadalt's powerful documentary focuses on the case of Nancy Paulikas, a woman who went missing on October 2016, while visiting the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. At the time of her disappearance, she was fifty-six years old and was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The film explores the effects her disappearance has had on her family, people's efforts in trying to find her and how her case led to the creation of a program that can help protect individuals who have conditions similar to hers.

The film gets the viewer's attention right from the start, as the mystery regarding what happened to Nancy it is very intriguing. While she was at the museum with her husband Kirk, she visited the bathroom and then she proceeded to walk out off the building and carried on until she vanished. The last sight of her was through security camera footage, that shows her walking on a pavement. What did happen to Nancy Paulikas? Several theories are given: that she ended up homeless or she ended up in a care home or a hospital.

The feature concentrates a lot on Kirk and her parents, Joan and George, all of which provide a very informative insight into Nancy's life, her past and childhood, the huge efforts made in order to find her and how not having her around has affected them. They truly make the audience feel for their loss.

The documentary consists of many photos of Nancy, from her childhood, right up to near the time of her disappearance. There is footage of her family and friends being interviewed, as well as doctors, detectives and police officers. There are also breathtaking establishing shots of Los Angeles and sequences involving computer generated animation. And the sentimental music by Al Sgro beautifully accompanies the images.

It is revealed that Nancy's case led to the emergence of the LA Found Program, which provides trackable bracelets to individuals who have conditions such as Alzheimer's, Autism or Dementia, so that they can be located if they wonder off. The film extensively explains how much this system is needed and how successful it has been.

Although this documentary is upsetting, as it centers around a tragic event, it also reveals the strength of the human spirit with the establishment of the LA Found Program and thus brings hope for people in the future. It proves that when something bad happens, people are brought together and take action in order to prevent it from happening again.



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