Documentary Review: A Friend of the Family: True Evil

A Friend of the Family: True Evil' Doc Trailer: Jan Broberg Heals |  IndieWire

credit: A Friend of the Family

The act of wondering how people can appear to be so decent and kind only to reveal themselves to be diabolical and evil is a constant lesson that many people have to learn in this world since the truth is that there are many people who hide away the monsters they really are. The true story of Jan Boberg is one that many people might have no knowledge of, but after watching this documentary, it might be preferred since what was done to her makes it clear that her abductor, Robert Berchtold, was the type of guy that could convince people that he was trustworthy beyond the shadow of any doubt when in truth he sounds like the type of malevolent spirit one might hear about or watch in the movies. One might wonder why Jan, now long-grown, would want to travel along memory lane to relive this horrible time in her life, but her reasons are fairly sound. When trying to reconcile or simply look at one’s past, sometimes it’s necessary to revisit the worst times to appreciate the best. 

What Happened to Robert Berchtold? Here's a 2022 Update

credit: A Friend of the Family

Berchtold’s hold on Jan’s family is tough to believe, but the sad part is that this can happen.

Listening to how Berchtold manipulated Jan’s family is a bit rough, but the fact that this has happened multiple times throughout the world is evidence that human beings are fundamentally flawed and, thereby, aren’t bound to make the best decisions at times. But the liberties that the man took with a young girl are still horrific enough that one can imagine what a parent in this day and age would do if they caught on quicker and didn’t fall under Berchtold’s sway. It’s a little too easy to say what could be done now, especially since many people are prone to stating that they would do this or that if the same thing happened to them. The unfortunate truth is that the same people who like to state how they would react might not react at all or would give a reason why they didn’t react if said act happened.  

Victims of this type of abuse react in very different ways depending on how their lives turn out. 

Plenty of people that have been through this type of abuse in their lives might choose never to reveal the truth or might be too afraid to go up against their abuser. Jan was neither, apparently, since she decided to take her life back and make sure that the world knew all about her abuser.  What’s truly unnerving is that Berchtold apparently stuck to the story that he hadn’t done anything and that Jan was telling lies. What’s unfortunate is that in this day and age, there are people who would think twice about believing her since there have, unfortunately, been ready to doubt her word the moment that Berchtold made his claim. Thankfully, plenty of people remember what Berchtold was like back in the day and are ready to make it clear that he’s lying, and he apparently has no way back to reality or accountability

A Friend of the Family': Real-Life Victim Jan Broberg to Appear in  Peacock's Season Finale (Exclusive Video)

credit: A Friend of the Family

Jan did get a happy ending, but it didn’t come easily. 

Jan did get to reunite with her family, but the nightmares and the deprogramming that was needed for a while were undoubtedly tough since it sounds as though Berchtold did a number on her, and the trauma she had to undergo was enough to tax anyone in a serious manner. The fact that she actually got to go back with her family, however, makes this a much happier story than some, considering that the average kidnapping story doesn’t end very well, be it real or fabricated for an audience. In some ways, it feels morbid to watch this and try to figure out what’s real and what might have been misremembered, but paying attention to stories like this is still important since it can lower the likelihood of the same thing happening to others if people know what to look for and what to expect. 

The fact that this isn’t the worst case of abduction in human history is kind of depressing. 

When one takes a look at the numbers and at the various stories that have been revealed over the years, it’s easy to see that this story isn’t the worst that’s ever come along. All types of crimes have been committed against kids, and yet somehow, they keep being committed for reasons that are hard to figure out. Jan is one of the lucky ones that managed to go home and one of those that was wrong enough to tell her story. There is real evil in the world, as this story shows, but there are still those who are willing to learn from it and stand against it. 

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