Dylan Farrow’s voice is heard above all

Dylan Farrow in Allen V. Farrow

Dylan Farrow in Allen V. Farrow
Photo: HBO

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From HBO Allen V. Farrow It is an overwhelming documentary series; its emotional intensity should be accompanied by an activation warning. The documentary series looks at allegations of sexual abuse against Oscar-winning director Woody Allen made by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992, when she was just 7 years old.. This case has been overly covered in the media for decades, but Allen V. Farrow tries to go beyond the headlines by featuring intimate interviews with Dylan, his mother Mia Farrow (Allen’s ex-partner), brothers Ronan and Fletcher Farrow, as well as other family friends, witnesses, experts, journalists and investigators. For the most part, the documentary series is a powerful undertaking. Giving Dylan a safe space to recount traumatic experiences, he plunges into the den of Farrow-Allen’s custody battle and finds out more about Allen’s marriage to Mia’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. More importantly, it acts as a damning mirror for the society that allowed Allen to prosper after the allegations escalated into a major public scandal.

A An inordinate amount of time is spent charting Allen’s rise to a hugely popular figure in New York City and in the entertainment industry. In the larger overview of the series, perhaps this helps provide insight into how he was able to overcome the gravity of the allegations to continue winning awards and making movies with famous actors. But yessome inclusions seem superfluous, including a particular analysis of Allen films such as 1979s Manhattan, and how they became obsessed with their older character falling in love with younger women. It’s a critical point, maybe enough to do a completely separate journalistic project, but here it feels a bit awkward, especially for viewers already familiar with Allen body of work.

But Allen V. Farrow it is still a fascinating and often difficult watch. You’re on the right track with previous documentaries from filmmakers Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, from 2012 The invisible war which examined sexual assault in the US military, up to the 2020s On the record, one of the most comprehensive examinations of the sexual harassment allegations against hip-hop mogul Russell Simons. The filmmakers, including Amy Herdy, spent four years researching the series and it shows. Allen V. Farrow he frames his narrative using stacks of legal documents, never-before-seen images and witness interviews. There are many videos of Dylan’s childhood, showing her playing with Allen in the pool, hanging out at home, and traveling the world with other siblings. The footage paints a picture of a supposedly happy time but, as Dylan says in his interview, there was supposedly more than meets the eye.

Allen V. Farrow Some follow a chronological order, with the first couple of episodes following the growth of Allen and Mia Farrow’s careers, relationship, and family. Mia, who hasn’t spoken much publicly in several years, reflects on her relationship with Allen, calling him her biggest regret. “Which is my fault. I brought this guy into our family. There’s nothing I can do to eliminate that,” Farrow says. In a harrowing scene, he describes the day he found revealing Polaroids of his daughter Soon-Yi in her apartment. Allen, when all hell finally broke loose.

The documentary goes on to provide granular details of the custody battle, as well as the police investigations against Allen in the states of New York and Connecticut. Throughout his custody trial and in media appearances (included in clips), Allen claimed that Mia taught Dylan to lie. He tried to paint his ex as a scorned woman, an incredibly resonant example of gaslighting. Allen, Previn and Moses, his adopted son with Mia, declined to be interviewed for the docuseries. Moses is the only member of the great family on record to be on his father’s side. Allen’s appearances in Allen V. Farrow they are largely via secretly recorded phone calls between him and Mia and audio clips from his 2020 audiobook, About nothing. The documentary looks at the flawed way in which the Yale New Haven Clinic conducted the post-assessment of Dylan’s complaints. Frank Maco, the investigating prosecutor at the time, is also interviewed. It was his decision that prevented the case from being tried, because he did not believe Dylan was in the state to testify. No criminal charges were ever brought against Allen.

The emotional anchor of Allen V. Farrow it’s Dylan, who finally gets to patiently tell his story. It is heartbreaking to see her relate the traumas she experienced from a very young age, starting with Allen’s possessiveness about her (corroborated here through interviews with different people: nannies, a tutor, siblings, family friends, her mother). At one point, you have a visceral physical reaction similar to a panic attack as you think about everything. These are not easy things to remember, much less speak and be judged by the public. But the filmmakers do an admirable job of giving him the time and space to discuss it. The most moving part comes from the videos of Dylan as a child that Mia filmed over two days, in which he describes details of the sexual assault Allen is accused of. Fair warning: the description may be graphic.

But Allen V. Farrow He doesn’t want to define Dylan solely by his past. “I’m tired of feeling like he matters more than I do,” she says towards the end, as she reflects on why she started talking more at the beginning of the #MeToo era. Allen V. Farrow it also ends up being a scathing story about celebrity worship and celebrity culture that inevitably creates a landscape that impacts the delivery of justice in cases like this. Ultimately, this is an intriguing documentary series that will engage those interested in the case to reexamine it through the lens of four. compelling, often awkward episodes.


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