It’s been nearly a year since the conclusion of Amber Heard v. Johnny Depp, the trial that drove home just how much America hates women. Not that we weren’t aware of it before—but the fact that Heard’s “imperfect victim” status made her the subject of ridicule throughout the trial was truly the icing on the misogyny cake.
After the suit found in Depp’s favor, the alleged abuser continued to go about his business as usual. A recent clip from Cannes showed the actor tearing up after receiving a standing ovation from fans, and just last month the Venice Biennale released its all-star slate for the upcoming festival, including known abusers Roman Polanski and Woody Allen. So yes, it’s very much business as usual for the film industry.
But a new Netflix documentary premiering August 16 promises a “neutral” take on Depp v. Heard. If such a thing is possible.
The recently-released trailer drops a few interesting bombshells: apparently Depp was the one who fought for cameras in the courtroom, while Heard was against it. “This case wasn’t so much about the legal matter,” one talking head explains, “as much as what public perception is.”
It’s gonna be a rough one.
The qualities that continue to make Heard worthy of casting — her coolness, her sense of freedom, her rural ruddiness, her easy appreciation for other women — had been neglected in the bit parts she’d been awarded on screen.
The documentary promises to parse all 200 hours of court footage and deliver us a verdict: was Depp v. Heard emblematic of a shift away from the #MeToo movement toward an even more permissive atmosphere surrounding rape culture and spousal abuse? Was it a PR circus? Was Heard set up to fail? Did bots have anything to do with swaying the court of public opinion?
Personally I won’t be counting on Netflix to deliver these answers, but I’ll absolutely be watching Depp v. Heard just like everybody else.