I am Vanessa Guillen review – a family fights for justice and change

By Romey Norton
Published: November 9, 2022 (Last updated: November 29, 2022)


This is a powerful and emotional watch as we see families struggle for the truth and justice and their effort trying to protect people from sexual assault in the Military.

Netflix documentary film I am Vanessa Guillen will be released on November 17th, 2022 – this is our official review.

Vanessa Gullien had always dreamed of joining the U.S Army, but the dream isn’t always the reality. At base, after making disturbing reports, she went missing. After a two-month search, her remains were found in a rural area, sparking outrage on a global scale. I remember seeing this online, shared across social media. 

While Stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, U.S., Mexican-American Army soldier Vanessa Guillen told her mother she was being sexually harassed before being murdered by a fellow soldier. At just 20 years old, Vanessa died in the hands of Aaron David Robinson at the Army Base in Texas in 2020. 

In this one-hour-and-half-long docu-film directed by Christy Wegener, audiences are told the truly tragic story, which sparked international outrage and a movement of assaulted victims demanding justice. As some of her family speak Spanish, there are subtitles available. 

The documentary film chronicles the family’s struggles as they filed a lawsuit against the U.S military and alleged that before her death, she had been sexually harassed. Vanessa’s sisters Lupe and Mayra carried her name in protests in the streets to the halls of power in Washington, D.C., as they demanded justice under the hashtag #IAmVanessaGuillen.

We’re given first-hand interviews with the family, friends, and their lawyer and are given a behind-the-scenes look at their tenacious pursuit to change a deeply rooted, controversial, and clearly corrupt military justice system. 

This film really shows what a family can do while facing unimaginable grief. They channel their emotions into fighting for justice and raising awareness to help stop this abuse and maybe save the lives of many others out there being abused. It’s so saddening that they did the investigating more than the police, and the family has to chase for answers. 

The insight into the corruption and sexual assaults that go on in the US Military it’s disturbing. Fort Hood seems to cultivate the worst of the worst and is the old-school toxic boys club, which made it a dangerous place for anyone, let alone a young female. They ignored the family when mentioning the sexual assault — which lead to the family posting about it online. Then thousands of people started sharing their own stories in the military, giving many people a voice, a platform, and a chance to make a change. The way in which people come together across the globe to share struggles and show unity is inspiring. It’s always such a shame it’s under such awful circumstances. 

We are shown footage of a press conference where they say Vanessa was not sexually harassed, which looks like a shoddy cover-up for their bad policies and practices; they were clearly trying to cover up everything. They were saying there was no evidence, but there is/there was, and they were hiding it. One of these men who was assaulting her is still working at the base to this day. 

There is no doubt how this was handled was completely disgusting. The disregard for someone’s life, who was on their base and on duty when she was killed is completely shocking. They counted on the family being quiet and the media not being interested, but that was not the case here. The family demanded the truth, in their quest for closure, and justice for not only Vanessa but for many people out there.

When Biden was elected President, the family went to congress again in the hopes he would pass a bill and help change the Military for the greater good. Historic reforms – sexual assault cases will now be handled outside of the Military. A proud and historic moment, the end of the documentary is bittersweet. We see where the family is now, what they’re doing and how they’re moving on in Vanessa’s memory. This documentary shows us the power and influence people can have and that if you want to move mountains, you can. 

What did you think of the Netflix documentary film I am Vanessa Guillen? Comment below.

More Stories

Movie Reviews, Netflix, Streaming Service