The Tinder Swindler is a British true crime documentary film directed by Felicity Morris and released to streaming on Netflix on 2 February 2022.[1] The documentary tells the story of the Israeli conman Simon Leviev (born Shimon Hayut) who used the dating application Tinder to connect with individuals who he then emotionally manipulated into financially supporting his lavish lifestyle on the pretext he needed the money to escape his "enemies".[2]

The Tinder Swindler
Directed byFelicity Morris
Produced byBernadette Higgins
CinematographyEdgar Dubrovskiy
Edited byJulian Hart
Music byJessica Jones
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • 2 February 2022 (2022-02-02)
Running time
114 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Plot and background edit

An Israeli man, born Shimon Hayut, travelled around Europe, presenting himself as the son of Russian-Israeli diamond mogul Lev Leviev.[3] He used the dating app Tinder to contact women as Simon Leviev, and tricked them into lending him money that he would never repay. He would charm women with lavish gifts and take them to dinners on private jets using money he borrowed from other women he had previously conned. He would later pretend he was being targeted by his "enemies", often sending the same messages and images to each woman, indicating that he had just been attacked with a knife, but that his bodyguard had saved him and was hurt. He then asked his victims to help him financially due to the breach of 'security', supposedly hindering his use of his credit cards and bank accounts; the women would often take out bank loans and new credit cards in order to help.[4] He would then use the money gained through the deception to lure new victims, while essentially operating a Ponzi scheme.[3][4] Later, he would pretend to repay his victims by sending forged documents showing fake bank transfers[4] and then break off contact with the victims.[5] Sometimes he would go as far as threaten them and use manipulation to get more money from his victims. It is estimated that he swindled $10 million from people across the world.[6]

Reception edit

Critical response edit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 96% based on 27 reviews, with an average rating of 7.50/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Chillingly addictive viewing, The Tinder Swindler offers a solidly crafted – albeit heartbreaking – treat for true crime fans."[7]

Kevin Maher of The Times gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, describing it as "the Jaws of internet dating documentaries" and wrote: "it's so visceral, propulsive and alarming that the prospect of online dating after The Tinder Swindler might seem very foolhardy indeed."[8] Rebecca Nicholson of The Guardian also gave it 4/5 stars, writing: "The Tinder Swindler is snappy and smart and leaves you wanting more, rather than scraping the barrel for every possible angle."[5] Ed Cumming of The Independent also gave it 4/5 stars, saying: "Despite the great yarn at its centre, [the film] sometimes lapses into the self-indulgence common to so many modern documentaries, with endless shadowy reconstructions and a heart-tugging soundtrack."[9]

Brian Lowry of CNN was more critical of the film, writing: "Combining the qualities of a Lifetime movie with a catchy title, the marketable elements scarcely mask that the story is actually kind of a bore."[10]

The movie clocked 45.8 million hours viewed globally across the week 31 January–6 February, and hit the top 10 on Netflix in 92 countries.[11]

Awards and nominations edit

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards Best Streaming Documentary Television Movie The Tinder Swindler Nominated [12]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special Bart Layton, Sam Starbuck, Jeff Gaspin, Eric Levy,
Stuart Ford, Lourdes Diaz, and Bernadette Higgins
Nominated [13]
Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Programming Felicity Morris Nominated
Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special Jessica Jones Nominated
Outstanding Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program Julian Hart Nominated
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Nonfiction or Reality Program (Single or Multi-Camera) Maria Kelly, Chad Orororo, and Nirupama Rajendran Nominated
Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding Achievement in News and Information The Tinder Swindler Nominated [14][15]

Other responses edit

The epilogue shown before the end credits states Hayut remains an active member on Tinder. Following the release of the film, however, Tinder permanently banned Hayut from its platform.[16] Match Group, Tinder's parent company, also banned Hayut from its other dating apps: Hinge,, Plenty of Fish, and OkCupid.[17]

Variety reported on 4 February 2022 that Netflix was planning to make the documentary into a dramatized movie.[18]

Netflix released a special three-part podcast companion that tells about the making of the documentary and digs deeper into Hayut's life and methods.[19]

On 5 February 2022, the three victims set up a GoFundMe fundraiser campaign to compensate their debts.[20]

On 22 February 2022, Piotr Kaluski, introduced to women and depicted in the film as Hayut's bodyguard, sued Netflix for $5.6 million claiming he was portrayed inaccurately.[21]

In late February 2022, Hayut launched an NFT collection and merchandise with images seen and quotes heard in the film.[22]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "The Tinder Swindler". Netflix Media Center. 2 February 2022. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  2. ^ John DiLillo (5 February 2022). "Who Is The Tinder Swindler?". Netflix Tudum.
  3. ^ a b Steinberg, Jessica (3 February 2022). "'Tinder Swindler' documentary on Israeli con man hits Netflix". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Hansen, Natalie Remøe; Kumar, Kristoffer; Arntsen, Erlend Ofte (16 February 2019). "The Tinder Swindler". VG Nett. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  5. ^ a b Nicholson, Rebecca (2 February 2022). "The Tinder Swindler review – the gobsmacking true story of an internet con artist". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  6. ^ Gibson, Kelsie (1 March 2022). "Where Is Simon Leviev From The Tinder Swindler Now?". People. Retrieved 22 February 2022.
  7. ^ The Tinder Swindler, retrieved 23 February 2022
  8. ^ Maher, Kevin (2 February 2022). "The Tinder Swindler review — thrilling tale of romantic deception". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  9. ^ Cumming, Ed (5 February 2022). "The Tinder Swindler tells the story of a cruel yet charismatic conman – review". The Independent. Archived from the original on 20 June 2022. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  10. ^ Lowry, Brian (3 February 2022). "'The Tinder Swindler' is the kind of true crime that mostly just steals your time". CNN. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  11. ^ Grater, Tom (8 February 2022). "'The Tinder Swindler' Becomes First Doc To Lead Netflix's Weekly Film Chart". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  12. ^ Schneider, Michael (7 July 2022). "'Severance,' 'Ted Lasso' Lead Streaming Nominees for 2nd Annual HCA TV Awards". Variety. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  13. ^ Moreau, Jordan (12 July 2022). "Emmys 2022: Complete Nominations List". Variety. Retrieved 12 July 2022.
  14. ^ Cordero, Rosy (16 June 2022). "'Abbott Elementary' Scores Most TCA Award Nods; 'Squid Game' & 'Only Murders In The Building' Also Among Honorees". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  15. ^ Hailu, Selome (6 August 2022). "'Abbott Elementary' Tops 2022 TCA Awards". Variety. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  16. ^ Malkin, Marc (4 February 2022). "'Tinder Swindler' Con Artist 'Simon Leviev' Banned From Dating App". Variety.
  17. ^ Wong, Wilson (8 February 2022). "Simon Leviev, subject of Netflix's 'Tinder Swindler,' banned from dating apps". NBC News. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  18. ^ Ravindran, Manori (4 February 2022). "Netflix in Early Talks to Make 'Tinder Swindler' Documentary Into a Movie (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
  19. ^ "About Netflix - The Making of a Swindler: A special three-part podcast companion to 'The Tinder Swindler'". About Netflix. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  20. ^ Hardiman, Jess (6 February 2022). "Victims Of The Tinder Swindler Have Set Up A GoFundMe To Compensate What They Lost". Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  21. ^ "'Tinder Swindler' Shimon Hayut's Bodyguard Peter is Suing Netflix, Here's Why". News18. 9 February 2022. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  22. ^ Ayub, Nasra (23 February 2022). "The Tinder Swindler Is Selling NFTs Now". Bustle. Retrieved 23 February 2022.

External links edit