A Life Too Short: The Isabella Nardoni Case (2023)

A Life Too Short: The Isabella Nardoni Case (2023)

A documentary that skillfully pieces together the tragedy and public spectacle of a young child's death

The Very Best



Crime, Documentary
104 min


Be forewarned that the full details of Isabella's death are hard to sit through.

What it's about

A Life Too Short: The Isabella Nardoni Case is a Brazilian documentary that explores the murder of a 5-year-old girl and the subsequent trial of her parents.

The take

The tragic death of 5-year-old Isabella Nardino shocked the people of Brazil, sparking a national outcry for justice whilst turning the case into a frenzied, televised spectacle. Directors Micael Langer and Cláudio Manoel illuminate how the media and public quickly formed their opinions, regardless of the incomplete evidence. And although there are a few alternative theories to contest with Alexandre Alves Nardoni (father) and Anna Carolina Jatobá (stepmother) being guilty, the lack of hard evidence or a thorough investigation doesn't derail the public's demand for their sentence. The final result? A shocking yet uneasy experience watching a partially-fabricated, 3D demonstration of the crime scene, a verdict announced over speakers for outside spectators, and enough shortcuts by professionals to sow doubt about the sentencing (even if you believe they're guilty). 

What stands out

Langer and Manoel don't focus solely on Isabella's murder. Instead, they highlight how speculation and embellishment by the media derailed the investigation. The directors provide much of that media through archived footage, illustrating how public interest, though good-intentioned, held power over the court proceedings and the Nardoni family. If the press weren't expounding on every new piece of evidence (in or out of context), they were reading body language to prove their theories. Focusing on how the crime was perceived was a unique choice, but didn't take away from the family's loss.


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