‘The Tinder Swindler’ Is a Dating App Nightmare

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Published February 14, 2022
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(Left to right) Cecilie Fjellhoy, Ayleen Charlotte and Pernilla Sjöholm were all victims to Simon Leviev. Photo courtesy of Netflix

“The Tinder Swindler” is a nearly two-hour documentary that follows Simon Leviev, a supposed millionaire man who lured and tricked women he met via Tinder into giving him immense amounts of money. Throughout the plot we meet three women who fell victim to Leviev’s lies; each one tells their story and the consequences of their ingenuity and good intentions.

The story itself is incredible to listen to, so much so that it seems to be made-up. Leviev is a sweet, charismatic, romantic and funny man with a fortune that allowed him to have all kinds of luxuries. In other words, he was the man many women dream of and aspire to have someday. No one imagined this man’s image was only a mask that perfectly covered his cruel self.

Leviev's case combines two essential elements to grab the audience's attention: couple drama and a famous dating app. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Simon Leviev’s case combines two essential elements to grab the audience’s attention: couple drama and a famous dating app.
Photo courtesy of Netflix

Leviev’s case combines two essential elements to grab the audience’s attention: couple drama and a famous dating app, making the reason for its popularity easy to understand.

Simply put, this film is gossip. It’s not an informative documentary. There is no depth of research in any of the topics mentioned nor any psychological research on any of the characters’ personalities. The most that could be seen was a journalistic investigation on Leviev’s real identity, but that’s all.

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Simon Leviev and the Russian model Polina, during one of their trips across Europe.
Photo courtesy of Netflix

It’s essentially an entertainment documentary primarily based on telling the stories of the victims. That’s not a negative aspect, but keep this in mind before you decide whether to watch it.

When you start listening to the stories and how each one of them was scammed, it will sound like nonsense. In fact, you’ll probably judge them by their actions or think, “Oh my! How could these women be so foolish?” But that question and curiosity you get at the beginning will motivate you to want to find out more and see what will happen next.

Leviev lured and tricked women he met via Tinder into giving him immense amounts of money. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Simon Leviev lured and tricked women he met via Tinder into giving him immense amounts of money.
Photo courtesy of Netflix

One of the positive aspects of this documentary is the stories themselves. Stories of a fallen romance never get old, and eventually, you will want to listen even if they seem silly. Plus, how well they connect with each other throughout the film makes the events easier to visualize.

Both the lighting and the camera focus in certain scenes help you feel a close connection with the victims as if you were in front of each one of them. You can feel the pain and anguish in each of their stories.

It creates a feeling of comfort and intimacy as if they are gossiping to you about their love life and the consequences of dating or befriending the Tinder scammer.

For example, when Cecilie Fjellhøy, one of Leviev’s victims, told her story of how she was scammed, her tears and broken voice showed her worry and fear of not knowing how to cope with the trouble she got herself into for saving Leviev’s life.

However, during an interview with Stylist Magazine, Fjellhøy revealed the real reason for making this documentary and sharing her story with the world.

“This isn’t a tale about the dangers of online dating, it’s a tale about fraud, and about trusting the wrong people,” Fjellhøy said.

Leviev and Ayleen Charlotte, one of his romantic partners, dated for 14 months. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Simon Leviev and Ayleen Charlotte, one of his romantic partners, dated for 14 months.
Photo courtesy of Netflix

The ending of this documentary is breathtaking and will leave you either speechless, fascinated or annoyed. The film does not teach you a lesson, but it shows you a story where you can draw your own conclusion and learnings.

It is certainly worth it to watch every minute of “The Tinder Swindler.” Both the documentary itself and the actual case will keep you hooked to the plot until the very end, and you will even want to continue investigating after you wrap the series.

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