Film Review: ‘The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne’


Doris Payne doesn’t look like a jewel thief. No matter how you picture such scammers, it doesn’t jell with the elegant 80-year-old black woman who stands trial at the outset of “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne.” Exploiting that discrepancy for all it’s worth, first-time feature helmers Matthew Pond and Kirk Marcolina pull off quite the coup in convincing Payne — whom Halle Berry was attached to play back in 2009 — to open up about her exploits. Turns out the real deal is an even more versatile actress than the Oscar winner, pulling the wool over even the directors’ eyes as she weaves the ultimate revisionist confidence game.

Nearly six decades of stealing jewelry from establishments all over the globe has taught Payne a thing or two about role play, and the prospect of being the star of her own documentary (for which she was compensated) allows the…

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