Last night I marathoned through all four episodes of Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering‘s Allen v. Farrow (HBO Max, 2.21.). Speaking as a longtime Woody Allen admirer and defender, I found it unsettling, more than a little disturbing and, I regret to say, a half–persuasive hit job. I was impressed with the chops, the craft and the sculpting, but I took notes as I watched and here’s a sampling:
“This is a hit job, probing but selectively so…a one-sided presentation, a stacked deck…Mia’s tale is so sanitized, so chaste…beware the perverted monster…I have to admit that it feels creepy…’smothering energy, suffocating closeness‘….Woody was clearly too invested in an emotionally intense, overly touchy relationship with Dylan…directions on how to suck his thumb?…this is so FOUL…give me a break!…so the Yale-New Haven investigators were determined to exonerate Woody?…why would they go to such lengths to distort?…why would they destroy their notes?…Paul Williams was muzzled?…what about the three kids who died under Mia’s care, two of them by suicide?…this is very bad for Woody but at the same time it’s not an open book, warts–and–all approach…the doc is totally in the tank for the Mia narrative.”
All through the first three hours (the fourth is mostly wrap-up) I was…be honest…quietly horrified. A pit of my stomach feeling that began to spread into my spleen. A terrible sensation. As in “oh, no…”
For 29 years I never realized (and nobody ever told me) that Soon-Yi is pronounced Soon-EEE, not Soon-YEE. Five words: “Jeff, the ‘Y’ is silent.”
Allen v. Farrow is a hit job, all right, but at the same time I was persuaded that what was being presented was honest as far as it went. The doc DOES lie by omission quite a lot, but I was also persuaded that the overly intense affection that Woody exhibited for Dylan was wrong. I could feel it. Diseased. Not right.
Then again Showbiz411‘s Roger Friedman might have had a point when he wrote that someone needs to give Mia a special Oscar for the performance of her life.
I just can’t understand Moses Farrow and his 5.23.18 “A Son Speaks Out” essay. What he wrote doesn’t square AT ALL with the Mia, Kirby & Amy narrative that sank into my system last night. So who’s lying? Mia is obviously lying by omission, but so, it seems (what else am I to think?), is Moses apparently, and I feel so angry about the possibility that he might’ve led me down the garden path.
What kind of diseased dysfunction would goad Moses into blowing that much smoke? How could he write what he wrote and not mean it? I’m almost beside myself with fury.
Moses’ essay, after all, has been the cornerstone of my belief in Woody’s presumed innocence for three years now.
And really…how is it that in all of his 85 years Woody never ONCE violated or over-stepped with anyone else? It’s so baffling. One single five-minute horror episode that happened on 8.4.92 when he was 57 years old, and the rest of his life is essentially spotless. My understanding of human behavior argues with what I saw last night. At the same time there was that awful feeling…
How in God’s name did those nannies let Woody take Dylan away like that? They had been put on HIGH ALERT, for God’s sake. “Don’t let him be alone with her,” they were told. He clearly had what seemed like pervy or at the very least inappropriate inclinations, etc. What kind of sociopath nanny would let Dylan go off with him? They looked for Woody and Dylan for 20 minutes and couldn’t find them? Frog Hollow isn’t that big.
Moses had better step up to the plate and answer this doc charge for charge, line by line, point by point. If his 2018 essay and Woody’s book are 100% accurate then the makers of the doc have a lot to answer for. But if Moses’ essay is a partial lie then why the hell would be write what he wrote? He’s a serious man, a licensed therapist. What kind of sociopath would lie like that, if in fact he HAS lied? I can’t figure this out.
Yes, I realize that Mia did talk to Woody about his behavior toward Dylan. But when she objected, he would sink into a cold rage.
Yes, he went into counseling for it. And the therapist said his behavior was inappropriate.
There’s a moment when Mia says that therapist Ethel Person told her that she noticed “off” behavior between Woody and Dylan…that really got to me.
Where is the counselor who treated Woody and found his overly intimate behavior toward Dylan troubling? Did I miss that counselor’s on-camera testimony? That counselor’s failure to sound a general alarm or read Woody the riot act would seem to border on malpractice, if not criminal negligence. Mia was appropriately alarmed, she says, when she saw Woody applying sunscreen between Dylan’s butt cheeks. Why did she not end it right then and there?
Allen v. Farrow is a very disturbing watch. VERY disturbing. Excellent chops, first-rate filmmaking, couldn’t turn away
Friendo #1: “I’m haunted by it, and the fact that I’m haunted tells me something. That I glimpsed and felt something that I hadn’t glimpsed or felt before.”
Friendo #2: “A very carefully constructed story that has been shaped to bring us to a certain end point. Nonetheless an absolutely riveting watch.”
Friendo #3: “Woody and Soon Yi adopted two little girls who have grown up beautifully. No one would allow that if he were really considered a molester. Moses gets nothing out of telling his story. He’s not living in a mansion or jetting to Gstaad. So Woody didn’t pay him to change his story and turn against the others. He’s telling his truth.
“Mia has two child suicides to explain. And a brother’s. And the other brother, John Farrow, now out of prison for CHILD MOLESTATION. A registered sex offender. And all that home movie stuff — Mia shot it! She edited it. Don’t be fooled. It’s been made to look bad for Woody. But if you go back over it you’ll see him giving plenty of attention to Ronan.
“I do not think that Woody did this. It makes no sense. A child molester has a compulsion that can’t be stopped. And many victims. And Woody had plenty of opportunities to do that before. And yet he only chose this one time, after the world was watching him like a hawk?”