Nearly 15 years ago (i.e., 3.31.08) a favorable Manohla Dargis review of Marina Zenovich‘s Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired appeared in the N.Y. Times. The review also conveyed a fair-minded, agenda-free reading of the politically motivated prosecution of Polanski in the wake of his arrest for “unlawful sexual intercourse” with Samantha Geimer, who was 13 at the time of the violation.
Dargis: “Douglas Dalton, Mr. Polanski’s lawyer, and Roger Gunson, the assistant district attorney who led the prosecution, pin the blame for Polanski’s flight directly on the presiding judge, Laurence J. Rittenband (who stepped down in 1989 and died in 1994). Aided and abetted by an avalanche of fluidly organized visual material, the lawyers fill in the appalling details of what was effectively a second crime, one largely perpetrated by a celebrity-dazzled judge and the equally gaga news media he courted. This crime left two victims, Mr. Polanski, who was denied a fair trial, and Ms. Geimer, who was denied justice. As [Geimer] wrote, ‘Sometimes I feel like we both got a life sentence.'”
I’m not saying that if Zenovich’s film had been released today for the first time that Dargis wouldn’t render the same opinion. Nor am I saying that she would be obliged to. Times change and highly attuned people often adjust their perspectives and follow suit.
But at the same time I doubt that Dargis would write a fair-shake review of Zenovich’s doc in the current climate. As I pointed out in a 2.3.23 HE piece titled “Dargis Crossed the Feminist Rubicon,” Dargis began to wear the cloak of woke sometime around ’19 or ’20. On top of which she knows she’d catch hell from her own crew if she were to post such a review.