MCN Commentary & Analysis

Review: Allen v. Farrow

I am a fan of Kirby Dick’s work; I like the guy personally and have for years. I met Amy Ziering a few docs ago and like and respect her.

Allen v. Farrow is, sadly, not so much a documentary as a commercial.

Unlike The Invisible War, The Hunting Ground, and On The Record, this film does not represent an underrepresented, barely told story about power being inflicted on the powerless. Both sides of this story have money, power and access to the media. In fact, the greatest flaw of this film is that it keeps trying to force the narrative that Woody Allen is King Kong and The Farrows are the equivalent of the helpless Ann Darrow with whom he is both obsessed and reckless.

This is not an excuse for anything he may have done. But if there is a primary theme in this doc, it is that Woody Allen is overpowering and with this power has erased the truth. Finding an answer to the question of whether Woody Allen inappropriately touched his 7-year-old daughter in a Connecticut attic on August 4, 1992, is not a question asked by the film. It is assumed from the start.

There is no chance for criminal prosecution to come from this film. Civil litigation is off the table. I don’t think Dick or Ziering committed to making this movie for money or awards. And as a story of the ills of how the rich abuse government systems, this case of a high-profile entertainer, his high-profile former-partner, and their shared child is a unicorn, not a template.

So what is the goal of the film and its advocacy for one unique case? I see it, as presented, as an effort to convince as many people as possible that Allen molested his 7-year-old and to make it impossible for the public to embrace him or his work moving forward.

My concern as a critic seems to be confirmed in this exchange from their Hollywood Reporter profile:

“It really is a mirror to our society at large,” says Ziering. “The way these crimes go unpunished and all the reasons they do, the way that all of us are unwittingly and wittingly complicit to some degree. Woody’s persona disarmed all of us. We have this celebrity culture, and that gives them this shield of impunity. We imbue them with a certain trust and a love and then can’t believe or hear the cognitive dissonance. We give their crimes cover.”

Adds Dick: “He was like, ‘I’m just this disheveled guy who is caught in the headlights. This vicious woman has come after me.’ He is always painting himself as a victim, which again is classic. People who are accused of sexual assault, that is the first move they make. It’s like, ‘I am the victim because I have been falsely accused.'”

Allen v. Farrow repeatedly claims objectivity over the course of four hours – starting in the first segment before opening titles – but fails to deliver on that promise.

Advocacy is not an illegitimate goal for a documentary. Advocacy documentaries are abundant, though many hide their advocacy/funding. This film can’t be mistaken for an advocacy doc by any objective eye, but it also presents itself as an investigatory doc, but only offers detail that confirms its bias, except when acknowledging public information to later refute it.

There are repeated protestations that the Farrow Clan didn’t want this film to happen. But however it came together, the film leans almost exclusively on the participation of the Farrow family and friends, primarily Mia and Dylan. Of nine children who were in the family in August 1992, only three are on camera (Dylan, Ronan, and Fletcher Previn). Daisy is on audio. Soon-Yi, Moses, and the Previn twins are not interviewed. Lark passed away in 2008.

Mia Farrow would bring five more children into this situation between 1992 and 1995. None of these children participated in any recorded content. Unmentioned in the film, one of the five, Thaddeus Wilk Farrow, was named in honor of the judge who harshly rejected Allen’s custody claim. Sadly, Thaddeus committed suicide in 2016 and his sister Tam did as well in 2000. (Mia disputes the finding of suicide in both cases.) (ed note. date corrected after publication)

Anyone who isn’t in lockstep with Mia Farrow is marginalized, diminished or mocked, especially the two children who left her home and later accused her of her own abuses.

The most serious direct criticism of Mia Farrow has come from Moses Farrow, who is now a 43-year-old family therapist (he was 14 in 1992). Not only do the filmmakers choose not to quote him directly from his 2018 blog post on all of this, using footage of tabloid TV reporters as the only reference to his statements, but they offer on-camera family members, first explaining how great his childhood was and then referring to him as being “dead to them” as a result of his public statement.

One of the most ironic moments in the film is a segment about Dylan’s publication of her letter in the NYT accusing Woody Allen directly, leading to Allen denying the claim, which leads to her comment of frustration, “To be told, not only, that the things you are saying are not true, but that you don’t have the authority to speak about your own experiences.”

This segues directly into an examination of Moses Farrow and his public statements. In the doc, Dylan asserts that finding out about what Moses said, “It was like I’d just been told that he died.” In his May 2018 blog post, Moses wrote:

After I spoke to People magazine in 2014 about how I was treated, Dylan called it a “betrayal” and said that I was “dead to” her. She later publicly dismissed my recollections of my childhood as “irrelevant.”

He also mentions, when discussing Mia Farrow’s reaction to the Soon-Yi photos…

For months now, she had been drilling it into our heads like a mantra: Woody was “evil,” “a monster,” “the devil,” and Soon-Yi was “dead to us.” This was the constant refrain, whether or not Woody was around. (So often did she repeat it that Satchel would announce to one of our nannies, “My sister is fucking my father.” He had just turned four.)

“Dead to me” is not a rare phrase for people to use. But I find the repetition of the usage in a family context of betrayal interesting, at least. Not interesting enough to make it into the four hours.

Moses was also one of the voices about the electric train in the 3.5′ high attic space. As described by Dylan, “I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic.”

Moses responds, “The idea that the space could possibly have accommodated a functioning electric train set, circling around the attic, is ridiculous.” He also points out that “she never brought up (the train) during the original investigation or custody hearing.”

The filmmakers offer a schematic drawn by a a Connecticut State detective of the attic space showing a small 4′-wide train track in a corner of the attic space, behind a clothes closet. No date. No indication of whether there was electricity or even trains. No picture of the space. No date on the document.

None of that lacking specificity disproves the existence of a train. Or, for that matter, that there was a working train in the attic. The semantic distinction of Dylan’s “around the attic,” which the schematic does not suggest in any way, is a minor detail, so I hope no one gets caught up in that.

But this is how so much of the doc’s “new facts” are presented. Big flourish, no follow-up. If you have a smoking gun/guns, why not do something more with it than some copy on screen and ten seconds looking at a schematic? What was the space like? How could this physical event have taken place? Was there electricity and trains?

The film doesn’t feel any need, in four hours, to discuss the specifics of that 20 minutes in any detail. If you are going to drop the guillotine, drop the guillotine. And if you can’t, admit you can’t, but let us know all you know and let us take away what we take away.

The film degenerates repeatedly into Bill Maher’s “I don’t know it for a fact, but I know it’s true” routine.

These filmmakers are beyond competent. They spent three years delivering a four-hour+ film. They didn’t leave out the details that they had. They wait 45 minutes into the final episode to show us a schematic and not only are we expected to accept it without context, we are expected to have our brains exploded by its existence.

One of the most compelling moments in Allen v. Farrow is an interview with Sheryl Harden, a senior supervisor for the New York City Child Welfare Administration from 1982 to 1993, who quit her job because she felt the city was tying the hands of her department, quite specifically in cases of low-income and Black families. Strong, committed human. I applaud her conviction. But The Farrows are not underprivileged or powerless or without media resources. And though the movie argues otherwise, the media, in my memory, was more than happy to take down Woody Allen. He did not cause Sheryl Harden to quit. But the insinuation hangs out there.

Time after time, the documentary makes a statement of fact and then offers up emotional talking heads that contradict the fact that was just offered. The Yale/New Haven report is always under attack. So one minute you have the film’s experts literally screaming about how Yale/New Haven did too many interviews with Dylan (in which they found inconsistencies) and later you have Dylan’s consistencies in repeatedly telling her truth touted as proof of her truthful memory.

The theme of a conspiracy of Allen’s power haunts much of the film… but there are no facts or even specific accusations supporting them. Ohhhhh… he has a publicist! Ohhhhh… he becomes less open when he realizes he is being taped by Mia! Ohhhhh… he spoke to the press at Yale/New Haven after he was told the results, exonerating him, before the New Jersey AG. (The film obscures a fact that it offered earlier, that Mia Farrow was told the result at the same time and also spoke to the same press corps minutes after Allen.)

The film also jumps around in time a lot. I’m not here to suggest style choices to filmmakers, but it feels like the placement of different segments are intended to shift the audience focus in a manipulative way.

The conflation of the Soon-Yi story and the Dylan story is also a big problem for me. We probably agree that any fixation by grown men over 30 on girls under 21 is bad news and often illegal. But do men with unhealthy fixations fixate on both prepubescent girls and girls over 16? At least one talking head in the film taking a position on this issue would be helpful.

Again, the thing is not that I, as a viewer, needed an expert opinion with which I already agreed. It could be an opinion with which I disagreed. But the lack of any strong voice on the issue suggests that the film doesn’t think the issue is worthy of consideration. And in a film that pushes the Soon-Yi button a lot, that is a failure.

While the movie is very comfortable tearing down Soon-Yi, using third-hand witnesses, does it ever consider that Soon-Yi may have been influenced by Mia Farrow’s marriage at 21 to a man 29 years her senior or her second marriage to her best friend’s husband after she was impregnated by him? No.

There are dozens of choices that are highly manipulative. Lots of family photos that just happen to have a pre-teen Soon-Yi somewhere in frame. The slow obsessive push into a Lolita-like photo of Christina Engelhardt when she was an underage model and dated Allen while there are obviously many more sophisticated images of her. The absence of Stacey Nelkin, yet another teen who slept with Allen, but who still supports him. The shabby treatment of Diane Keaton, looking silly in her defense of Allen in an interview with Matt Lauer. The early marginalization of Moses in the film, except for his angry note of rejection aimed at Woody soon after Mia’s “Soon-Yi’s Hustler-like nudes” family meeting.

The film even takes one positive memory of Woody by Dylan, her first Broadway show (Guys & Dolls), then turns it into proof of Woody’s manipulation to isolate Dylan. Later, we see a photo of Woody and Dylan and Mia and Ronan going to that show together. (Don’t even get me started on taking a 5-year-old to a Broadway show not meant for kids.)

All I wanted to get in this film was 30 minutes without a WTF moment as a viewer… not a lack of surprises in the story, but in the storytelling. After four years of Trump, I admit that my WTF button is well honed. But still, I watched, open to the storytelling, hoping not to have the facts overworked for just a chunk of time.

The stretches that offer some of that peace in the film are with Dylan, both in speaking her truth about 1988- 1993 and later in the film as she feels more control of her life. That is a story of absolute truth, not matter what you believe about August 1992.

All of the children are clearly victims of a seriously messed up situation. Every one of them. Most of all, Dylan. Whatever actually happened. Whatever you believe. She has been abused.

The one-sided nature of the documentary means that it will not be definitive. It is not a stringent documentary effort, seeking to come as close to the truth of the events as possible. There is no exacting timeline or analysis of the day in question. There are too few efforts to challenge emotional notions that are spoken of as fact.

The subject of the sexual abuse raises all kinds of passions and biases. Understandably. It brings out both hypocrisy and a relentless need to unearth truths. It plays into both misogyny and misandry, as well as hard truths about how we perceive and value gender in an honest and loving way.

Dick & Zierling made a movie that is not about questions, but about reaffirming the guilt of Woody Allen. They had already decided that he was not only guilty, but just a typical guy making the same old excuses, duplicitous in every way. All the Farrows, including Soon-Yi and Moses, are his victims. And anyone who doesn’t agree is a sucker or a victim.

I wish they had made a more serious film about what happened, challenging every fact on every side, wherever it lead. And then, even though some might disagree, the documentation would be complete. But that was not what this effort was.

History deserves better.

46 Responses to “Review: Allen v. Farrow”

  1. john seamus marengo says:

    zero desire to see this piece of trash. I’ve discontinued subscription to HBO. I will never support any other film from these directors or the producer. The producer had said in the past ‘anyone who doesn’t believe ‘women like Mia’ are misogynists. That says it all about the producer and what kind of one sided, biased hit piece this is. They don’t even pretend to make it a balanced piece. Not one interview with someone from Allen’s side. Not one interview with any of the dozens of psychologists that interviewed dylan over a 2 yr period, and all came to the same conclusion that she made up the story. Not mentioned is that Allen took 2 polygraph tests and passed. Mia refused to take one. Not mentioned is Mia’s brother who is a convicted pedophile. Allen is 100% innocent.
    That is not because I like him as a director, it’s because I actually went through all the facts, all the sides. I’ve never seen such a garbage piece. I would never call this a documentary

  2. Glamourboy says:

    John, you close your note by saying that you’ve never seen such a garbage piece and that you would never call this a documentary. Yet you open by saying that you have zero desire to see this. So you are judging this based on….? It is always suspect to me when people judge a film that they haven’t seen.

  3. Charlie says:

    I’m guessing the documentary doesn’t bother to address why Dylan’s accusation is basically the same as the Dory Previn song With My Daddy in the Attic either

  4. Else Verwoerd says:

    Hi Glamourboy, if something looks like a turd, smells like a turd, even sounds like a turd, and people are warning you to ‘watch out for this turd’, you are of course free to take a bite and see for yourself. I would applaud your courage. But please respect people who make another informed choice, and who warn others to mind their steps.

  5. Else Verwoerd says:

    Thanks for this reference, Charlie. I looked it up. Halfway the 1970’s, Mia’s once best friend Dory Previn wrote two songs about a girl who is abused by her clarinet-playing father, up in the attic, lying down, being lured with a toy train. Who then decides to hurt her father, to soothe her mother over having lost his love.

    In 1992, Dylan Farrow would claim to have been abused by her clarinet-playing father, up in the attic, lying down, being lured with a toy train. Dylan then decided to hurt her father, to soothe her mother over having lost his love.

    The investigators at Yale-New Haven noted that Dylan, when talking about the alleged abuse, would constantly refer to ‘her mother, her poor mother’, who had lost her position of Woody’s favorite actress, and her movie career now being in peril.

    Dory’s song “Mama, mama, comfort me” ends with the lines “Oh Mama, I ain’t guilty / You’re not to blame / What we did is done”.

    (BTW, Dory had written a song about Mia before, “Beware of Young Girls”, as Mia had stolen her husband. Mia knew these songs by Dory Previn, and knew the accusative song was about her.)

    How does any rational mind explain away the many similarities between Dory’s songs and Mia’s/Dylan’s later allegation? I wonder.

  6. Else Verwoerd says:

    By the way, the ‘electric train’ had been absent from Dylan’s narrative from 1992 to 2014. That is 22 years of a trainless abuse story.

    When Dylan added this ‘fact’ (some would say: ornament) to her story, she claims it was totally traumatizing, and she ‘was never able to look at electric trains again’. If so, how can anyone account for the train’s absence in the 22 years before?

    I find that question at least as tantalizing as the attic’s dubious suitability for accommodating any electric train, in the perspective of Moses’ clear testimony about it being absent.

  7. Woody Allen Mob Lynching says:

    Thanks for this review. A little mistake or probably typo: Tam kills herself in 2000, not 2020: she was 21 years old.

  8. Woody Allen Mob Lynching says:

    I’m not sure why David didn’t give to his readers the link to Moses Farrow’s essay: “A Son Speaks Out” ? I’m not sure I can put it here in the comment… I’m going to make an other comment below with the link, if you can’t see it, it means the comment has been deleted, so please Google “Moses Farrow: A Son Speaks Out”.

  9. Romina Ricci says:

    Hi, thanks for your review pretty focused to all the convenient omissions in what they call a documentary. I know it’s not fair judging something before watching it, but the more I read about it the stronger it looks like a collage well crafted to make look Allen guilty as sin and that’s after two separate investigations who completely cleared him. Yes there are wrong convictions, but generally when someone is acquitted or, as in this case, not even prosecuted it’s simply because there’s nothing relevant against him, this case simply started as as an evil revenge by a scorned woman. Before I read pages and pages of court documents my guts always told me Allen was innocent. Why? The way Mia treated SoonYi. A man who believes her daughter was screwed would never go after her, she would rather try everything to save her and protect her, Mia never did it and moreover manufactured a false allegation of sex abuse against a child. Believing that someone could be a paedophile just for 15 minutes of his own life is beyond parody, believing he could have persuaded her to go up to the attic, starting to play with a train, abusing her and then suddenly come back downstairs in the television room with other kids is technically impossible. I just hope people use their brain.

  10. Stella's Boy says:

    Oh look The Woody Allen Fan Club is here. And they seem nice.

  11. Randy A Byrd says:

    Thanks David. I think it’s disgraceful how Woody has been treated. The man’s 85 years old and no one has ever made an accusation like that before or since. It doesn’t square with what we know about adults who molest young children.

  12. Else Verwoerd says:

    Hi ‘Stella’s Boy’, I am not a part of the ‘Woody Allen fan club’ as I haven’t watched a WA movie in 30+ years. My fellow WA defenders hate me for that, but I cannot help it. I am just a part of the ‘Facts, Truth & Justice fan club’ – and I hope you are too.

    Yes, we WA defenders are quite nice people. It seems to me that most people who *love justice* and *hate injustice* are generally nice people. Definitely better company than people the other way around.

    It seems to me that anyone with all of their wits still intact after four years of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’, that is anyone with a working brain driven by rationality, who studies the facts of the Allen-Farrow-saga will arrive at the conclusion that Allen is innocent and Farrow is guilty.

    I know, and accept, that this POV of mine can be challenged by people who believe in contributing to the fight against sexual abuse. There is nothing wrong with their desire, other than that they in their enthusiasm should not condemn the falsely alleged. Like Woody Allen.

    So the issue is not whether we should ‘enable child abuse’ or ‘defend abusers’ or ‘hate feminists’ or ‘fight for sexual liberation’. The issue is, simply put, whether Woody Allen is a child abuser or not. The facts give no reason at all to conclude that he is. And ANYONE who disagrees, should find their way to court – NOT to some HBO fake ‘documentary’.

    Cheers from Amsterdam, your
    Else.

  13. Stella's Boy says:

    Here’s what another review of the documentary says: “comprehensive, convincing and ultimately devastating.” So maybe people should, you know, watch it before they draw conclusions about it. DP is hardly the final or only word here. Stop judging movies sight unseen. And I can’t believe I have to say this but the lack of other accusations against WA is not evidence of his innocence. Jesus Christ.

  14. Woody Fan says:

    I am a Woody Allen fan.

    Like other successful bullies we have recently come to know, Ronan Farrow has impressed others to put their names on his dirty work. Farrow’s documentarian pals are the latest cover for Ronan Farrow’s ongoing Oedipal drama against his father.

    Since Farrow made a popular New Yorker sensation out of Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey solid #metoo research for the Times, his self-promoting story-telling has been come to be called out. (For example, The New York Times, May 17, 2020 “Because if you scratch at Mr. Farrow’s reporting in The New Yorker and in his 2019 best seller, “Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators,” you start to see some shakiness at its foundation. He delivers narratives that are irresistibly cinematic — with unmistakable heroes and villains — and often omits the complicating facts and inconvenient details that may make them less dramatic. At times, he does not always follow the typical journalistic imperatives of corroboration and rigorous disclosure, or he suggests conspiracies that are tantalizing but he cannot prove.”)

    Try as he might, Farrow cannot deliver a coup de grace to Woody Allen out of the accusations made during a child custody battle. The claims remain unsubstantiated by this latest concoction against him.

    His documentary omits all the complicating facts and inconvenient details. It is significant that testimony is left out, to Mia Farrow’s abusive and troubled behavior, testimony from her other children and from employees and colleagues over the years. Mia Farrow’s personal history regarding betrayal and family sexual abuse is left out. It is significant that Soon-Yi Previn is not heard from, regarding her courtship and her successful 24 year marriage to Woody Allen – and her adoption with him of two daughters.

    This docudrama is just the next installment in an ongoing persecution by Farrow, who, his credibility fortified by his 1999 Pulitzer, had led a social media war against Amazon to cancel Allen’s picture deal (which Allen successfully settled in court), extorted the Hachette Book Group to drop the publication of Allen’s memoir (by wrangling its millennial assistants to inundate social media and to stage a walk-out, but which was subsequently well-received and a best-seller published by Arcade) and the solicitation of denouncements from actors who have worked with Allen. It is important to note that many A-listers support Allen’s refutation – none of whom are interviewed for the series.

    For a comprehensive response to the vengeful Farrows, please check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muyaCg2dGAk

  15. Woody Allen Mob Lynching says:

    “CIVIL LITIGATION IS OFF THE TABLE.”

    Well, not true: the statute of limitations DOESN’T prevent Dylan Farrow from taking Woody Allen to civil court. Exactly, the statute of limitations in Connecticut civil court won’t expire until Dylan Farrow is 48. Furthermore, there is an easier standard of proof required in a civil suit than in a penal one.

    And if Dylan Farrow had not changed her story regarding the allegation of sexual abuse, criminal prosecution could even still be an option.

    Maybe Dylan Farrow won’t never take Woody Allen to court because she doesn’t know a good attorney… ?

  16. Fredrik Olsson says:

    Great article

  17. You Can't Handle the Truth says:

    Appreciate this sober look at Ziering & Dick’s hit piece/doc

    Regarding “The Hunting Ground” – they used this same kind of blatant manipulation/withholding

    One of the storylines they follow is about an accuser (“victim” in their eyes) who believes her University did her wrong by allowing her “rapist” back after expelling him

    What did Ziering & Dick leave out? THE FACT THAT THE ACCUSER HAD PLANTED A CONDOM AS EVIDENCE that was eventually revealed to have both her DNA and an “unknown male’s”… but NOT the person she accused!!! Affect credibility much???

    HOW CAN THIS NOT MAKE IT INTO YOUR FILM?!?!

    This kind of blatant propaganda is sinister… and now they’re at it again!

    The sad thing is, they’re dealing with real, complicated issues that deserve a nuanced eye

    Instead, they’re “working the refs” for a capital-C Cause, and it’s morally bankrupt, artistically spineless and a sign that the filmmakers, in trying to do good, have become the evil they claim to work against

  18. YancySkancy says:

    Stella’s Boy: Your point is well taken, which is why I haven’t weighed in yet. I’ll be watching, though I think it’s pretty clear from reviews and interviews with the filmmakers that the doc is unabashedly one-sided in favor of the Farrow family’s narrative. Every review I’ve read (mostly positive ones, from writers/critics who seem to have always considered Allen guilty) makes it sound like the film rehashes all the known facts of the case that support Farrow and ignore or gloss over anything that might suggest reasonable doubt for Allen or criticism of Mia. The “new” “facts” seem to be court documents that obviously had no effect on the outcome of the case(s) and interviews with Farrow supporters, confidants, employees, whatever offering hearsay. Maybe the film will actually have persuasive new material that will convince me of Allen’s guilt (as some here may remember, I tend to believe that the truth is basically unknowable but what is known favors the possibility that the accusation was coached by Mia). Maybe the writers of these reviews have just done a poor job of making it sound convincing (I haven’t seen many attempts to suggest it’s unbiased). Either way, it should be interesting.

  19. Stella's Boy says:

    Sure I can appreciate that perspective Yancy. Haven’t seen it and wasn’t trying to defend the doc sight unseen. Just strange to suddenly see an Allen Fan Club here all at once and all bashing something they have not seen. With their minds already made up it doesn’t seem like most if any will be watching it either.

  20. Tempe Laver says:

    You state that Dylan can not sue in a civil court however this is incorrect. She let the statute of limitations run out for a criminal trail but she can still sue in a civil trial. Woody Allen was never charged let only convicted of any crime. In fact he was to have visitation with Ronan and (later) Dylan once things had settled down after the custody trial. The conveniantly edited pieces from the custody trial that The Farrows trot out ie the judge said steps must be taken to protect Dylan was not of a sexual nature. It was in relation to how much time he spent with Dylan and the complications of the relationship with Soon Yi which may have confused Dylan. At then end of the day Allen was investigated thoroughly and the most likely outcome of the child abuse experts was that Dylan was coached. The Farrows seem to have a LOT of powerful friends willing to spread their lies. Hey Mia, explain why you wont take a lie detector test?

  21. Hamberdeler says:

    Whenever ‘truth’ is being proclaimed and lines are drawn, there are some things I always look for: a) what’s not said; b) who could possibly have motive and under accounted for in the narrative; c) or is entirely left out of the account?

    In this Mia vs Woody vs Dylan saga, I always get the feeling that with regard to Mia nowhere near enough scrutiny has given, not enough stones are turned over with regard as to her history, previous patterns, motivations etc. Until that is extensively examined and weaved into the narrative, I feel compelled to delay verdict. I stand with Confucius, who supposedly said, “When the people say ‘This is right,’ examine it. When the people say ‘This is wrong,’ examine it.”

  22. John D. Baldwin says:

    I have two comments about this story to add to all the valid observations of David Poland.

    And for those points with which I *disagree* with Mr. Poland (e.g., that a *consensual* relationship between a much older adult and a young people past the legal age of consent is somehow automatically wrong), I’m glad that despite the fact that he made those implicitly anti-Allen points, he still rejects the film, which only makes my own argument stronger.

    1. When the Catholic Church attempted to deal with pedophile priests by simply transferring them to other parishes, it was *doubly* bad, because a) they were covering up the original wrongdoing and b) enabling more wrongdoing… because science tells us that pedophiles tend to be *repeat offenders*. And yet here we have Woody Allen who is accused of abusing a child (his own) for the *very first time* in 1992 when he was in his mid-fifties, and never, ever again. Is that accusation remotely plausible?

    2. Woody’s publisher, Skyhorse Publishing, is considering suing the filmmakers and HBO for the completely unauthorized use of Woody’s copyrighted audiobook in *each episode* of the series. (The excerpts were much too long and too extensive to qualify legally as “fair use.”) As far as I know from the reviews, the filmmakers did not use any excerpts from the audiobook in which Woody defends himself from Farrow’s (and Dylan’s) accusations. In other words, Mr. Dick and Ms. Ziering illegally used Allen’s words without permission, selectively, to incriminate him. I hope Skyhorse sues.

  23. Stella's Boy says:

    2021 and men are still “well if he’s guilty where are all the other accusations” or “he couldn’t have done it because he was in his 50s when it allegedly occurred so why wasn’t he accused before then?” Un fucking real.

  24. YancySkancy says:

    Stella’s Boy – It’s just one point in the litany of things that collectively build a case for reasonable doubt. Of course it’s possible that he was a one-time molester, or was only caught once, but given the intense scrutiny and level of investigation this allegation has received, it is rather surprising that no other credible accusations seem to exist. It proves nothing, but it’s worth noting.

    One thing that I find “un fucking real” is that after 28 years of this, there are still countless people going into online forums to say “He married his underage stepdaughter,” as if it’s not common knowledge that Soon-yi was of age and not his daughter, stepdaughter or adopted daughter. That suggests to me that many of the people against Allen know nothing of the case but what the Farrows are asserting. It would be nice if a truly unbiased documentary were made on the subject, but I suppose it’s impossible. Anyone taking an honest look at both sides probably wouldn’t be motivated to do the work. You’ve got to have a dog in the fight, like the Farrows.

  25. Stella's Boy says:

    I disagree Yancy. Yes control your shock. It proves nothing and it isn’t rather surprising. That’s not how it works. It’s gross. And I think one could easily say that all these ardent Allen defenders and apologists are very, ah, selective about what they believe and insist is the truth. But that just speaks to your point about everyone being dug in about this.

  26. busterkeaton says:

    You mention the NJ prosecutor when you mean CT.

    Also the The Hunting Ground was criticized for blurring facts.

  27. Stella's Boy says:

    Did a little research and found some information about how prosecutors and advocacy organizations view the issue of the number of accusers and credibility of the accusation. The lack of more than one accuser does not diminish the accuser’s credibility and isn’t treated as a reason to doubt them. This is partly because of how massively underreported sexual assault is. The age of the accused when an allegation is first made is also not relevant. It doesn’t matter if an abuser is 55 when they are first accused of sexual assault. So please don’t continue to use the number of accusers or Allen’s age as reasons to be skeptical.

  28. YancySkancy says:

    Stella’s Boy: Prosecutors and advocacy organizations are, I presume, held to a higher standard than internet speculators. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with being skeptical — as long as you look at all evidence with an open mind. Obviously, in a legal proceeding, they can’t just say “Well, he’s had no other accusations, so we’ll give him a pass,” or “Well, she’s only 7 and probably easily manipulated. Next!” But all these things are among the many that are taken into consideration by those of us trying to make up our own minds about the case, just as those who believe Allen is guilty latch on to every sordid detail about the Soon-yi relationship as if it logically and inarguably follows that a creep who sleeps with his ex-girlfriend’s legal-age adopted daughter would happily molest his own 7-year-old daughter. “Where there’s smoke…” — this is common thinking among those who believe the allegation. Or “He’s a creep, so he’s guilty.” Or “He made an edgy joke about teen girls on a talk show 50 years ago — smoking gun!!!” You also see a lot of “Children never lie,” and “Accusers don’t lie” and “Believe women” – automatically, as though there have never been false allegations, or as if an accusation should automatically lead to conviction, because the danger of convicting an innocent person is statistically small.

    There are sound reasons to believe whichever side of this case you choose to. Lists of reasons. Anyone truly making up their mind about it on the basis of only one aspect is foolish. But, yes, ONE of the things on Allen’s list is the fact that he’s had only one accusation in his 85 years, and his well-documented romantic history doesn’t seem to include anyone under the age of consent. Okay, I guess that’s two things. But as I said, this proves absolutely nothing but is certainly worth noting as part of his defense. It would undoubtedly be included if there were ever a civil trial, as counterpoint. His lawyer would be an idiot not to try to put that on the record, even knowing that it in no way exonerates his client.

    To some extent, in the court of public opinion, one’s opinion hinges on what one chooses to believe, disbelieve, doubt, accept, or dismiss about the personalities, lives, and choices of the parties involved, independent of the known facts of the case. It’s a lot to take in. Believers/defenders on both sides overlook or minimize certain details when making up their minds. In fact, if making up your mind is the goal, then you have to accept that there are details that don’t fit your ideal narrative. This is why I never mind being on the fence to some degree. I TEND to think Allen is not guilty, but I can’t deny the possibility that he is. I TEND to think Mia coached Dylan in the aftermath of the very real hurt and anger Allen and Soon-yi caused her, but I can’t deny the possibility that Dylan made the accusation unsolicited and was telling the truth. If this ever did become a jury case, this is how the jury would have to grapple with it too. I’ve been on a jury, and it was a devastating case centered on liability for a fatal auto accident in which a family suffered heartbreaking losses. To this day, I have no idea if we delivered justice, but it seemed the only verdict we could honorably reach based on the facts as presented and argued by the lawyers.

  29. Stella's Boy says:

    So that means you don’t believe Allen started grooming her in high school? But my posts here aren’t really directed at you Yancy. Certainly not primarily. They are meant for the fan club members who have somehow shown up here and insist that Allen’s age and the lack of other public accusations proves his innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. Which is utter and total nonsense. They do not have an open mind. And I still haven’t watched the documentary so I’m not weighing in on it yet. I’d like to see it and draw my own conclusions from it, but haven’t had the time. Honestly until it came out Allen hadn’t crossed my mind in ages and I was just fine with that. Never did like him or his movies, going back to the first time I saw something of his probably two decades ago. He’s always struck me as a creep (among other things). And yes I know that is hardly evidence of anything other than finding him creepy.

  30. Shep says:

    Great great review. And your point that all the children have been abused most of all Dylan. You also bring up facts that I never knew. The suicides of two children which is particularly tragic. Yes a documentary about the children, all of them and the impact it has had on their entire lives is what is needed.

  31. YancySkancy says:

    Stella’s Boy: All I really know about how Soon-yi and Woody got together is that both claim that he showed no interest in her whatsoever until Mia encouraged him to spend more time her around 1990, when she was 19 or so (her exact age is unknown because she was a foundling, but it’s believed she was born in 1970). I don’t think even Mia disputes this. Their sexual relationship supposedly started in late 1991. Of course I have no idea whether anyone is lying about any of this.

  32. Stella's Boy says:

    I’ve read some things recently about him grooming her when she was in high school. I believe it’s part of the doc. But even 19 is pretty gross, albeit legal. 35-year age gap. He’s a creep. I suppose that makes it easier for some folks to believe he’s guilty even though lots of men are creeps who marry much younger women.

  33. Remy says:

    Everyone is entitled to seek love in their life. While Allen’s choices are sad, he seems happy now. The fact that the HBO series was made is proof of a very dysfunctional family with Mia at the helm. It’s depressing to see her desperately trying to ruin Allen, by obsessing on the past, when he’s so clearly moved on. Without Allen, she’s a nothing. Her best bet is to find another famous man to latch onto. Some women should not be allowed to adopt children imho.

  34. YancySkancy says:

    Stella’s Boy: I believe Soon-yi was still in high school at age 19, due to the estimated age at which she was found in Korea. The doc seems to fudge this, mentioning “high school” but not her age. She graduated from Marymount, a college prep school, in 1991, the year she turned approximately 21.

  35. Else Verwoerd says:

    Stella’s Boy: When I was young, homosexuals were considered ‘creeps’ who did dirty things with other creeps. Black men were considered ‘creeps’ if they dated white girls. Now we look back and call those attitudes for what they were: bigotry and racism.

    Today, some people justify ageism: an older man who dates a much younger – adult – woman is a ‘creep’. Older women who date much younger men are sometimes called ‘creepy’, but much less so – which is, of course, a thinly veiled matter of sexism. In the age of #MeToo, age-gap relationships are interpreted in the ‘woke’ ideology of the ‘white patriarchate’ where ‘powerful men’ are only up to manipulating ‘young, helpless women’.

    This is, I assume, why you keep on calling Woody Allen a ‘creep’. Even when Allen never actively sought contact with any of Mia’s “Previn children” and had ignored them for ten years, and even when he had no personal relationship with a 20 year old Soon-Yi *until Mia asked him* to take her out to basketball games, and even when it took the two over a year to get befriended and, finally, fall in love – you still perceive him as a ‘creep’ who ‘crept’ toward Soon-Yi, a probable ‘predator’ and ‘groomer’. Your act of self-delusion has escaped your consciousness, because you had no need for facts that would easily disprove it, while you jump at evidently false assumptions (‘him grooming her while she was in high school’) that felt good to you.

    It won’t bring you any closer to the truth, or to fair judgment. Neither will the smoke you blow give all of us a clearer sight.

  36. Else Verwoerd says:

    YancySkancy: The timeline of Soon-Yi’s education and her relationship with Woody Allen has been meticulously investigated as part of the custody cases. Mia sought to annul Woody’s adoption of Moses and Dylan, by proving that his relationship with their legal sister Soon-Yi had started earlier than the adoption finalized in December 1991. Mia’s attorneys brought all the evidence and testimonies they could find, including documented evidence from Soon-Yi’s and Woody’s therapists. The result was crystal clear, and has never been challenged by Mia.

    The relevant facts here as to Soon-Yi’s education are that she graduated from high school in July 1991, three months before turning 21 (established date of birth: Oct 8th, 1970). She had a delayed schooling trajectory, given that she had not had formal schooling in Korea and did not speak English when she entered the US in 1977. In September 1991 she entered Drew University. She would be 21 the next month. At the time, she and Allen were good friends, but their romantic and sexual relationship would not start before December 1991.

    Anyone can check these facts in the statement of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, State of NY, May 12, 1994.

  37. YancySkancy says:

    Else Verwoerd: Yeah, I was pretty sure about the age timeline with Soon-yi (though I would say her birth date is more estimated than “established”).

    As for whether Allen is or was a “creep” — I don’t think large age gaps between legal-aged adults are creepy. What was creepy in this case was the fact that Soon-yi was Farrow’s adopted daughter, and Allen had to know that the relationship, if discovered, would devastate the Farrow family. Even though I’m in the camp that has doubts about the molestation allegation, I do think the way he and Soon-yi got together was insensitive to say the least, and morally questionable. It worked out for them, insofar as they’ve now been together almost 30 years, but it triggered a completely understandable rage in some members of the Farrow clan. I think it’s clear that a lot of people believe that any negative consequences for Allen are justified by this, regardless of whether the accusation against him is true.

  38. Stella's Boy says:

    And WA was good buds with Epstein.

  39. Me says:

    I would note that if anyone over 30 had a fixation on women under 21 is bad news, then you’re indicting every single man over 30 watching porn–because most of the girls are in the age range between 18 and 21.

  40. Stella's Boy says:

    Wife and I watched it over the last two nights. I cannot fathom coming away from this convinced WA is innocent. The only thing that ever came close to supporting him was the Yale report. That was quickly and forcefully discredited. The three people who wrote it refused to testify for him at the child custody trial. The judge in that trial excoriated Allen and said they believed Dylan. The Connecticut State’s Attorney believed Dylan. It boggles the mind that someone could watch this and come away seriously doubting Allen’s guilt, much less wholeheartedly believing he is innocent.

  41. Ali says:

    I have watched the Allen v Farrow documentary twice (in the UK) over the last few days. On the first occasion, all 4 episodes in one hit until 2am. The second time over a period of two days and in an attempt to address the suspicion that I was being manipulated by the movie makers and talking heads . The second viewing highlighted many of the observasions you and others have made . But also the cosmetic, cinematic details became more obvious. Visually dark , virtually monochrome and monotoned – It is accompanied by a grim soundtrack to the point where it feels like a horror movie. And I suppose it is, whatever one’s point of view. After 8 hours of this one sided piece of work, the bitter taste I’m left with is that Moses’ and Soon Yi’s accounts are discredited in favour of all others. Why am I being asked to disbelieve them yet believe their siblings?

  42. Stella's Boy says:

    Well Moses flipped as an adult and not a single person corroborates anything he is saying. Not one of the other 10 kids who was raised in Mia’s house. And there are many other people who believe Dylan, not just all of her siblings sans Moses and Soon Yi. I mean the documentary spells out why you should seriously doubt Moses and Soon Yi.

  43. Stella's Boy says:

    And it’s not as if the only defenders of Dylan are her siblings, Mia, former babysitters, former tutors, and family friends. There is the Connecticut State’s Attorney. There is the judge from the child custody hearing. There are the officials who conducted the investigation for New York City’s child welfare department. All believe Dylan. They found her claims credible. They did not see evidence of coaching. That has to be weighed against a single report that was immediately and forcefully discredited, whose authors wouldn’t even defend it. It’s pretty damn overwhelming. I was not aware of the fact that all WA had going for him was that long-discredited Yale report.

  44. Mark Dark says:

    I had a friend whose father left her mother for her aunt. She refused to visit him in the hospital when he was dying of cancer. It sounds cold, but that is a consequence of betrayal. I imagine no one would dispute that Allen to some or a large degree betrayed the Farrow kids. Moses must have felt it the most, being old enough to understand, being (then) the only male and one of the two children of the family without a father and apparently having found a man who wanted to be his father. I can’t imagine how devastating it must have been being caught between this prospective father who takes up with his sister and your mother reinforcing every negative sentiment about the man who would finally have given him a father. So I understand the suspicion about his apparent turnaround. I doubt I’ll watch the film, but I wonder if André Previn ever gets a mention. After all he was the real father of Soon Yi. He seems totally absent from any article on the matter, confirming that parents seem very poor all around in this mess. I find however disconcerting that so many commenters I’ve read will claim that the report of the only timely and police-mandated referral to determine the likelihood that there had been sexual abuse has been dismissed as “discredited” as if it were a fact rather than an opinion.

  45. Mark Dark says:

    As a fan of quite a fewWoody Allen movies, who is trying to come to terms with all that I’ve read in the available official documents, since initially being incensed when I heard about this documentary, I highly recommend this article. Not at all aimplistic acceptance of what is presented in the documentary, but a piece that resonates, at least for me, with my own feelings, on the matter, of late: link.

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"Will it matter in No Time to Die that the state-of-the-art Bond gadgetry is last year’s model? Have In the Heights and West Side Story missed the post-"Hamilton" wave they might have been hoping to catch? Will it be weird seeing a 16-year-old Finn Wolfhard in Ghostbusters: Afterlife when he’s pushing 19 in real life? In the broader sense, will any of these delayed movies feel truly fresh?"

The Guardian | April 12, 2021

"Even former assistants who survived their tenure with Rudin and became executives themselves described the tough skin they developed as an asset. Emotional and mental anguish—reportedly at minimum wage—were a given. “You’d always forgive him because he’s so smart, cares so much, and he gets movies made that no one else can,” explained Amy Pascal, one of Rudin’s former assistants who became a major studio executive herself, in 2008. “I attribute an enormous amount of whatever success I’ve been able to attain directly because of how I saw him operate,” the producer Craig Perry, another Rudin acolyte, said in 2005. “Does he yell? Sure. Do I yell? Sure.” Rudin’s workplace behavior may have been an open secret, but open secrets eventually build cultures—in this case, one where tolerating mistreatment is a fundamental ingredient for success. And that culture was reflected in the press: Many stories about Rudin casually downplayed or reframed his nastiness. Tempestuousness was excused as 'behind-the-scenes excesses of passion.'"

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April 11, 2021

BAFTAs: Nomadland, Zhao, McDormand, Hopkins; Soul; Screenplays, Promising Young Woman, The Father; Editing, Sound of Metal; Cinematography, Nomadland; Another Round, Not In English; Youn Yuh-jung, Daniel Kaluuya; My Octopus Teacher; Score, Soul

April 11, 2021

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