Why Woody Allen defenders are upset by HBO’s ‘Allen v. Farrow’

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It didn’t take a lot to persuade Woody Allen defenders that HBO’s four-part docuseries, “Allen v. Farrow,” was a one-sided hatchet job in opposition to the revered filmmaker. The four-part investigative sequence hadn’t but premiered after they started tearing down its reexamination of the allegation that Allen molested Dylan Farrow, his adoptive daughter with actress Mia Farrow, when she was simply 7 years outdated.

Offended readers wrote to The Instances in response to my favorable evaluation of the sequence, insisting I used to be a part of a lynch mob: “Disgrace on you!” Others railed in opposition to it on Twitter as an HBO hit piece. Heated arguments ensued throughout Fb. A number of the upset was comprehensible: Robert Weide, who directed “American Masters’” “Woody Allen: A Documentary,” spoke out in favor of his good friend, complaining in a weblog put up that a lot of the press was responsible of “swallowing the HBO sequence entire, seemingly thrilled that somebody was lastly taking Allen down.”

However the immediacy and depth of those that presumably don’t know Allen personally was puzzling. His apex as a filmmaker was greater than 30 years in the past. The accusations detailed in “Allen v. Farrow” are almost as outdated. Why are these followers so invested in defending him?

A part of the reply is straightforward. The world has modified because the scandal round Allen and Farrow’s breakup in 1992, and much more because the Seventies and ‘80s, when Allen’s movies typically gave the impression to be pushed by an obsession with younger — and sometimes underage — ladies. The #MeToo motion has shifted the facility dynamics of Hollywood, and altered the perceptions of the American public relating to the function of ladies on and off display screen. However greater than that, it’s flipped the script on who’s believed in “he stated, she stated” instances, making Allen and Farrow’s case the right candidate for reconsideration underneath a extra trendy cultural lens.

That reappraisal hasn’t simply centered on Dylan’s allegations, both. It additionally consists of Allen’s sexual relationship with, and subsequent marriage to, Farrow’s daughter Quickly-Yi Previn, whom she adopted as a toddler with former husband Andre Previn. Quickly-Yi was nonetheless in grade college when Farrow started her 12-year relationship with Allen, and she or he was 21 when Farrow caught Allen with pornographic Polaroids of her. When Allen went public with the “affair” in 1992, shortly after Dylan first claimed he had abused her and he sued for custody of Dylan, Ronan and Moses Farrow, Allen asserted that Mia had fabricated or coached Dylan’s abuse claims as payback.

Allen’s defenders contend that the docuseries, from administrators Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering and producer Amy Herdy, is biased as a result of Allen and Previn should not interviewed; neither is Moses. (All three declined to be interviewed for the sequence, in keeping with title playing cards that seem on display screen. Allen has repeatedly denied Dylan’s accusation.) These critics have sought to counter the manufacturing’s view, which is squarely on the aspect of Dylan and Mia, by selecting aside the proof introduced and noting that particulars supportive of Allen’s innocence have been glossed over or omitted. The filmmakers have responded by saying Allen’s account is already extensively identified, and that “Allen v. Farrow” seeks to indicate one other aspect.

Mia Farrow with four of her children when they were young: Daisy, Fletcher, Soon-Yi and Lark Previn.

Mia Farrow along with her kids in an undated picture. From left, Daisy, Fletcher, Quickly-Yi and Lark Previn.


Mia and Dylan Farrow are interviewed all through the sequence, as are almost all of Farrow’s different kids, many household mates, former nannies, prosecutors, social staff and extra. These, together with court docket paperwork, Farrow’s house films, clips from Allen’s movies, excerpts from the audiobook of his memoir and extra, add as much as a disturbing image of a predator who’s prepared to destroy everybody round him to protect his repute as an excellent filmmaker.

In scrutinizing not solely Dylan Farrow’s sexual abuse allegations, but additionally the couple’s bitter custody battle and the beginning of Allen’s sexual relationship with Previn, the sequence constructs a strong problem to the narrative that emerged on the time, one formed by Allen’s personal media blitz: Farrow was scorned and Allen was framed. Allen’s affect and superstar, and Hollywood’s historical past of siding with gifted males over feminine accusers, helped push his account to the forefront whereas Mia pleaded with him to maintain the combating out of the newspapers. And that’s the place the story stayed — till “Allen v. Farrow” revisited the controversy.

Whether or not you settle for the sequence’ argument, during which Dylan and Mia Farrow’s long-dismissed accounts obtain a high-profile platform, is so that you can resolve, based mostly not solely on the sequence but additionally in your prior data and loads of Google searches. The issue with a lot of Allen’s advocates, having disregarded the undertaking earlier than seeing it, is that they clearly made up their minds way back — earlier than “Allen v. Farrow,” earlier than even Dylan Farrow as soon as once more raised the accusation in 2014 and 2017.

To those outspoken followers, Allen is a sufferer of Farrow’s bitter grapes, of “cancel tradition,” of feminism itself. However the reality underlying their emotional, typically extremely private defenses of Allen is that he’s grow to be topic to the forces of change which have lastly begun to problem the outdated world order, when a lady’s place was tantalizing Allen or different actors on display screen, irrespective of how nerdy or neurotic these males is likely to be, or how younger the lady.

Nobody is aware of for certain what actually occurred within the Allen/Farrow family besides the individuals who survived the nightmare. The remainder of us base our opinions on probably the most compelling argument, and up till now, Allen — a beloved filmmaker in a notoriously sexist enterprise in a patriarchal society — has had the megaphone, and the may of the business, to current his account.

Maybe these Allen diehards are upset as a result of “Allen v. Farrow” lastly explores the opposite aspect of the story, and so they’re used to a world the place ladies have been merely advised to close up.

‘Allen v. Farrow’

The place: HBO Max
When: Any time
Rated: TV-MA (could also be unsuitable for youngsters underneath the age of 17)

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