Gwyneth Paltrow ski crash trial documentary features new interview with juror
The film looks back at the 2016 ski collision at Deer Valley Resort and subsequent 2023 trial.
And for those who missed it, or want to relive it, Discovery+ and HBO’s streaming platform Max released an hour-long documentary in December.
It features interviews with witnesses who spoke during the trial and a new highlight, an interview with juror Samantha Imrie. A fragment from a video diary she kept during the trial—because she couldn’t discuss it with her friends and family—is shown too.
Click here to read two other jurors' accounts of the trial.
Stitching together Imrie's account of the trial and the strongest evidence presented by both sides, the documentary tries to give viewers the experience of sitting in the jury box.
Max goes through the trial chronologically, beginning with the allegations of Terry Sanderson, the retired Salt Lake City optometrist who claimed Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow hit and injured him on the slopes of Deer Valley more than seven years earlier.
At first, it’s framed as “David vs. Goliath,” and the producers lean into the idea that members of the public “love to hate” the glamorous and successful Paltrow. Sanderson’s ex-partner testifies in an interview that the family man she knew and loved was irreparably changed by injuries sustained in the collision.
The rest of the documentary slowly shows how Paltrow and her lawyers flipped the script.
First, jurors thought Paltrow was frank and sympathetic when she took the stand—and delivered the now iconic line that she “lost half a day of skiing” over the whole ordeal. Imrie says Paltrow never seemed dismissive of Sanderson’s injuries and complications, only maintaining she wasn’t at fault.
The documentary pays close attention to the testimony of eyewitness Craig Ramone, who says Paltrow hit Sanderson but changes parts of his story on the stand during cross-examination.
It also shows how Paltrow’s team of medical malpractice lawyers—who are typically called on to prove a patient is lying about being harmed by a procedure—used photos from Sanderson’s social media and an animation of the crash to seed doubt that, one, the retiree’s life was changed for the worse and, two, that Paltrow was the uphill skier.
The documentary explains the skiers’ code that people uphill should yield to people downhill, and in the end, the jury deliberates for just two hours and decides Sanderson was 100% at fault and Paltrow was “Gwynnocent.”
The actress wins a symbolic $1 from her countersuit and both sides pay their own attorneys’ fees.
The film doesn’t take sides, leaving it up to the audience to decide between he-said and she-said.
Max doesn’t add anything new to the story, except the juror interview. The documentary is, however, an entertaining way to spend an hour and escape into one of 2023’s biggest and least consequential stories.