Documentary Review: Abducted In Plain Sight (Netflix)

Premiered on Netflix this month, Abducted In Plain Sight is an American documentary directed by Sky Borgman, which tells the true story of 12-year-old Jan Broberg who was kidnapped in 1974 and again two years later by the same man. Following the accounts of the naive, church-going Broberg family, the film sees their troubling admissions of how they came under the spell of their next-door neighbour and best friend, who turned out to be a deceitful sociopath with a strange obsession with their daughter.


A sharply honest documentary about mistrust and deception, Abducted In Plain Sight is full of so many utterly bizarre twists that you won’t know whether to believe it or not. But it’s all true!

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry for most of it but, despite the mind-boggling circumstances that sees this poor girl taken from her home – twice! – it is still a true story about child kidnapping and sexual abuse. Fair play to this family for admitting to their absolute idiocy for a lot of this, because they do open up to many of their failings that could have prevented much of this from happening, but it is so difficult to get your head around a lot of what happens to feel any pity towards them. However, I do really sympathise with Jan’s naivety, as you really can be forced to believe anything at that age, which I don’t think is something that all viewers will understand.

The documentary also makes a small passing comment about the number of other females who have come forward about being abused by Bob since his suicide, but it’s difficult to see some of the more serious issues because of the tone of the documentary. Just like the dark underlying story of sexual abuse that is somewhat brushed over to highlight the more comical values, this is something else that the documentary could have had a better focus on. In the end, it’s just far too hard to think about the more weighty topics of this documentary when you can’t get past a certain scene in a car. *Insert aubergine emoji here*

I’m just happy to see Jan doing something good with her traumatic experience, knowing that Bob can’t do the same to any other little girl. At least their story had a happy outcome.

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