In Netflix’s murder mystery film ‘Crime Diaries: The Celebrity Stylist,’ Rebeca Soto investigates the deaths of famed Colombian stylist Mauricio Leal and his mother Marleny Hernández within the short span of twenty days. Her attention to detail and ruthless investigation lead her to Jhonier Leal, the elder brother of Mauricio. Rebeca fights various prejudices and misogyny at her workplace while trying to solve the case, only to eventually get forced to part ways with the same. Her talent as an investigator safeguards the prosecution from media scrutiny as she delivers a solid breakthrough within the time she gets to investigate the case. Since the movie is based on a true double murder case, the investigator seems real but is she?
Rebeca Soto: The Archetypal Investigator
Rebeca Soto can be a fictionalized combination of all the investigators who tried their best to solve the mystery behind the deaths of Mauricio Leal and Marleny Hernández. An investigator/prosecutor named Rebeca is not mentioned in any of the reports concerning the double murder case, which leads us to the conclusion that writer-director Jacques Toulemonde Vidal conceived the character to structure the narrative of the film as a quintessential murder mystery movie. The film uses Rebeca’s point of view to approach the real-life double murder that shook Colombia in 2021. The character adds intrigue and suspense to the narrative despite the same revealing the possible killer very early in the film.
As far as Rebeca’s characteristics are concerned, she is not drastically different from the archetypal model of a detective. She is an investigator who is eager to prove herself. Rebeca uses her intelligence as a source of power and displays her fearlessness in front of people she is up against. When challenges mount on one end, she draws inspiration from the same to make progress in her investigation. Her obsession with work and the troubled marriage are guaranteed to remind us of famed detective/investigator characters such as Harry Hole.
Motherhood and Misogyny
While exploring the nuances of the double murder case, Vidal’s film also depicts what it means to be an investigator and mother at the same time. Throughout the film, Rebeca’s superior undermines her just because she is a woman and specifically, a mother. Despite making commendable progress in the case, Rebeca is not given a chance to conclude the same for good in the name of her motherhood. While she is about to solve the case, her superior asks her to focus on raising her child and removes her from the investigation. He must be trying to garner the credit for the work Rebeca does by sidelining her.
Although Rebeca is a fictitious character, her struggle to find her footing as a female investigator must be relatable to several real-life women who are dealing with discrimination and misogyny in their respective workplaces, especially in male-dominated ones such as law enforcement. Rebeca can be seen as a representative of women who are fighting patriarchal notions and figures to earn a place in their fields. Through Rebeca’s hard work and the recognition she gets denied, Vidal offers a moving feminist narrative within the fundamental murder mystery structure of the film.
Even though Rebeca may not mirror the actual officers who investigated Mauricio and Marleny’s murders, the liberty Vidal took with the character makes his movie more relevant. In addition to a murder mystery, the film succeeds in becoming a critique of the law enforcement forces of our times, which partially still operate based on misogynistic notions.