Hannah woody mia

On Woody Allen: Brilliant Artist, Dysfunctional Man

When I was in my early twenties I used to go to the movies to watch Hannah and Her Sisters. I saw it maybe seven times, ritualizing it with a carton of white rice and plum sauce. I was fully immersed in the world of the film, seeing myself in each of the characters. How could I be Hannah sometimes, her sister Holly at other times, and even Lee. The dimensions of the female experience were so thoroughly and beautifully explored in that film maybe no other modern American film has matched it. Years earlier, I could have become Annie Hall. I was literally that character as a young woman coming of age. I dressed like her, talked like her, wanted to look like her. To this day I still feel connected to Diane Keaton, as Woody Allen memorialized her beautifully — really got her — in that film. Who else does that? Who else loves women enough to do that?

But if you’re a Woody Allen fan cut from the same cloth as I am, you would know his films inside and out. You know the characters depicted therein, the good, the bad and the ugly. You will know that there was one fictional Woody before the Soon-Yi debacle, and another Woody after the Soon-Yi debacle. You will know that his work struggled to ever be as good as it once was. You would know that his relationship with his audience depended on his audience thinking of him as the good guy, even when his films portrayed multiple dimensions of himself. The good, the bad and the ugly.

If you were like me you would have wanted him to do nothing so much as simply apologize for what he’d done, and not just to his family (though first and foremost to them).  You would have hoped he hadn’t tried so hard to convince us that Mia Farrow was crazy to have been insanely pissed when he began a lengthy affair with her young daughter, the sister of his own children. Perhaps he did apologize to her, again and again. But he never apologized to us, his fans, who believed he was that guy in his movies. Most would agree he is under no obligation to apologize to us. It’s none of our fucking business, they would say. And to a degree, that’s right. But there was a relationship there — between Woody’s moral self portrayed on screen, and the real Woody Allen off screen. Appreciating his movies meant loving him too. He starred in them, mostly as himself. The quirky, clarinet playing, brilliant brilliant man.

I will selfishly never give up my love for Woody Allen’s films. Sleeper, are you kidding me? I am now able to see the Woody Allen in all those movies as just another character in the array of self-portraits he’s delivered over the years. There are also many sociopaths invading his work. He is probably most like the character Martin Landau plays in Crimes and Misdemeanors. We’re thrown off because Woody is in that movie too, as the faithful documentarian who falls for Mia Farrow who dumps him for the sleazy Alan Alda. Or he could be Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Match Point, taking advantage of whomever and whatever he pleases, with little regard for the consequences, and getting away with it.

Others have made the same connection. Last month, weeks before the Times published Dylan’s letter, Cartoonist R. Crumb reassessed what Woody might have been up to in this interpretation of Crimes and Misdemeanors:

And there’s this really arrogant comedy writer/director played by Alan Alda who plays such a jerk, and that’s part of Woody Allen also; very interesting. And I suspect that movie is kind of — and I don’t even know how aware of it he was — a confession. It was right around the time that whole scandal with Mia Farrow’s daughter happened — maybe right before — because Mia Farrow was in it. But, the ophthalmologist gets away with it. Yeah, the respected ophthalmologist, whose brother has the girlfriend murdered, is never detected, and he gets away with it. It’s a really excellent movie, very Jewish. It’s got Jewish philosophizing in it. Actually there’s a scene in it with the family at the dinner table philosophizing about God and justice and what it all means(laughs). It’s a very serious movie, and yet it has its comic relief.

You see, Woody Allen has been telling us who he is all of this time. We have selectively chosen to see him as just the one thing. The truth is, he’s done some terrible things. He has done worse than apologize for them, or own them, he has fully denied them — asked his fans and supporters to join him in believing Mia Farrow to be a psychotic mastermind who planted memories in her daughter, contacted a wild fantasy all to get back at him for throwing her (an old lady) over for a fresh young girl. It was never wrong for his fans to believe in him, because why wouldn’t they? All of the crazy women in his films — the “kamikaze women,” the young hotties like Juliet Lewis in Husbands and Wives and Mariel Hemingway in Manhattan — were the pursuers. Women like Charlotte Rampling in Stardust Memories and Mia Farrow in Husbands and Wives were just nuts. Woody was the sane one caught between them. He prefers them as naive as possible. The smarter they are, the more unbearable. Annie Hall becomes less attractive the more she evolves. He is worried Mariel Hemingway with lose that thing he loves so much about her — as in, her childlike innocence. As a woman absorbing Woody’s world I always felt guilt, and still do, for evolving out of that mode and into the kind of shrill harpy he so detests (“No jokes, these are friends.”)

What seems to have always been at stake is keeping alive the Woody Allen we all know so well, not accepting the Woody Allen he has actually shown us. He has always said that he was a phony. In interviews he says he’s too dumb to be a brilliant artist and that he preferred playing sports. He says he only put on those black framed glasses to play the character for our amusement, that he never needed them in the beginning. He has said he stole his whole schtick from Bob Hope. He never takes credit for anything. He has always been that guy who thinks people are insane for appreciating the work he does so well.

I believe Blue Jasmine is the closest to a Woody Allen self portrait we’re likely to see. You have to know his work extremely well to recognize it. You are probably thinking, if anything, Jasmine is Mia — living a lie that has dismantled her from the inside out. But I think Jasmine is Woody himself — too attached to the trappings of the good life to ever escape from the sham he’s been living, both as a man who has lied repeatedly to his public about his relationships with women, and as someone who has foisted a false image of himself and had to live with that image for the rest of his life. That’s the power of art if you believe in it, if you don’t moralize it. It expresses who we really are, not always who we would like to be.

Jasmine is a character whose life has been built on deception. You can’t tell me that Woody Allen doesn’t know the difference from right and wrong. This is the guy who had Michael Caine coming home off of fucking his wife’s sister, then laying down next to his wife and saying how good it felt to lie down next to Hannah. It causes a guilt spiral which finally makes him go to the phone and try to break up his affair. He can’t do it, of course. Eventually, though, he gets away with it. Jasmine continues to keep the truth pushed as far back as possible — there is no way she knew what her husband was doing and maybe she still has no idea. But it is destroying her.

The getting away with it threads through a lot of Woody’s work. It is as though he blames society for being so easily exploited, for believing people to be good at face value. Michael Caine in Hannah and Her Sisters eventually stays with Hannah, Lee goes on to marry someone else. The world is right again. No harm done because no one was caught. This is explored again in Crimes and Misdemeanors, again in Match Point. Woody makes a point of telling us that there is wrong — a misdemeanor, as in, an affair, a deception. And a crime, murder.

It is then ironic that he would be caught in the same duality. A misdemeanor — his affair with Soon-Yi. And a crime, his supposed molestation of Dylan. It must drive him nuts that in the end he is trapped by the very thing he ruminated on so often.

Those who know Woody’s life well know the archetypes born from his own childhood. His crazy mother who did nothing but berate him, never acknowledged his successes. And his little sister Letty, with whom he formed a very tight bond when he was a teenager. Letty was, it appears, his own relief.  It isn’t that much of a leap of logic to see where his affection for the innocent came from. Does any of this mean he’s a child molester? That is something we can’t really know. I can say that I believe Dylan Farrow, that she’s telling the truth. But that doesn’t mean he is a pedophile. That doesn’t represent a pattern of behavior with other children. What it does tell me is that he had an untoward, overly affectionate, inappropriate relationship with the seven year-old Dylan, so much so that a therapist observing them together suggested he go into therapy to deal with that. Once he began therapy, he seemed to transfer that affection over to Soon-Yi, where it has resided ever since. But beyond that, unless any other victims come forward, it can be viewed as a one-off at best.

What I think about the case is this: it doesn’t matter whether he “did it” or not. He will never be tried for that crime, never convicted. All that matters here is that Dylan be heard, and Mia not be demonized, because to do so simply adds more victims to the pile. The more you add to a conspiracy the more implausible it becomes. The way this has divided down gender lines is telling. Somehow, in all of this, men have come to feel persecuted for wanting what the heart wants. Women are feeling defensive about people needing to believe Mia is crazy, Dylan is a manipulated puppet and Ronan Farrow is a career bent maniac. To me, that’s the longest way around when it is so much more logical to simply say, he had a relationship with Dylan that crossed the boundary of a healthy one. That is documented, witnessed, so much so that he had to seek therapy as a result of it (read the court transcript).

The thing is, to appreciate Woody Allen’s work should not be dependent upon whether he “did it” or not. He is the good, the bad and the ugly all rolled in one. He is an artist, a writer, a human being and a man. He is honest in his storytelling. We have just been digging in the wrong place.

Is Blue Jasmine a worthy screenplay for an Oscar nomination? Yes, it is. Is Cate Blanchett’s performance the best of the year for any actress? Yes, it is. As far as judging art goes, those are unshakable truths. If you want to separate that and take a side on what goes on in his personal life, we are a global community now, so perhaps it’s unavoidable. When Dylan Farrow asks the collaborators of Woody Allen’s films, his fans, and the voting bodies who judge his work if they are complicit in his dishonesty — I would say that they aren’t, unless they start buying and promoting the cancerous lie that Mia Farrow was crazy and wrong to want to protect her children. As long as they don’t do that? The work is the work is the work.

This comes up often where Roman Polanski’s films are concerned. Can you love a movie made by a man who raped a 13-year-old back in the 1970s but like Woody has gone on to have a loving “normal” marriage? I guess each person would have to decide for themselves. For me, I can’t ignore the brilliance of Woody Allen as a writer and director. I just feel, as some have already argued better than I ever could, that you have to combine your feelings about the case with the work Woody does.   You must abandon whom you thought he was — that funny, moral, wise bespeckled nebbish.  And you must fully embrace who he really is, a complicated man, sometimes cold and calculating, often acting in his own best interests despite the consequences and always getting away with it in the end, but also someone who struggles inwardly with all of these things. He works them out in art, not in public. That is what artists do. We live in an era that demands we (all of us) take responsibility for our actions, something Woody Allen has never publicly done, but instead has worked out artistically, especially with Blue Jasmine.  You will have to decide for yourself if you think that’s good enough. For me what is most at stake now is both that the work not be devalued, and that the Farrow family not be destroyed.  Again.

My two cents, for what they are worth.

Things to read:

Andrew O’Hehir’s How Do We Watch Woody Allen’s movies now?
Lili Loofbourow’ Brainwashing Woody
Sam Adams’ Dylan Farrow’s Open Letter to Us
The Woody Allen Debate belongs in the Public Sphere

A Week Before Ballots are Sent Out, are the Lead Acting Frontrunners Locked?

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113 Comments

  1. Julian Walker
    February 11, 2014

    Nice article. I respect how you did not demonize Mia or make Dylan out to be some puppet.

  2. Julian Walker
    February 11, 2014

    But now that I’ve seen Blue Jasmine and it is only the second Woody Allen film I can’t help but feel a little awkward after I read those accusations from Dylan. STill a great film though.

  3. Mike
    February 11, 2014

    One of the best pieces you’ve ever written Sasha. Thank you.

  4. Sasha Stone
    February 11, 2014

    Nice article. I respect how you did not demonize Mia or make Dylan out to be some puppet.

    Thank you. To me, that is exactly the wrong position to take for our culture in all respects. Just plain wrong. And implausible, no matter how much you think it’s weird she adopted all those kids, etc.

  5. Zach
    February 11, 2014

    I do believe that Woody Allen’s films are masterful and entertaining enough to be viewed independently of the scandal — same goes for Polanski, Chaplin, Hitchcock, and Disney if you want to add him to the list after the shameful smear campaign against Saving Mr. Banks this year. Contrast those to Riefenstahl, to Mel Gibson making The Passion of the Christ. The difference is that the former filmmakers are not making propaganda, not to mention they aren’t advocating genocide. Now it would be a different story if Allen were making children’s movies.

    After the overexposure this year, I think Allen should take a nice long hiatus after the overexposure this year. And frankly, Mia and company should now keep their controversial statements, true or otherwise, to a minimum if they want Ronan’s show to succeed.

  6. Zach
    February 11, 2014

    But I forgot to add that I am like that with Hannah and Her Sisters whenever it comes on TV, which was a lot last year. It’s impossible for me not to be enraptured by it. Here’s to Allen making more instantly rewatchable classics, but the Farrows too deserve personal satisfaction and professional success.

  7. dan
    February 11, 2014

    @ zach

    “I think Allen should take a nice long hiatus after the overexposure this year” … hiatus from what? making movies? he’s made a movie every year for like 40+ years. the last thing i want him to do is stop or take a hiatus- especially at his age. He’s had little to do with being in the spotlight or news lately. he made one statement. he should keep on doing what he’s doing. i believe woody over mia but hell i don’t really know and we’ll probably never know for sure.

  8. Bebe
    February 11, 2014

    Brilliant, you expressed your point of view perfectly in a very clear, precise and eloquent way. Bravo!

  9. Sasha Stone
    February 11, 2014

    But I forgot to add that I am like that with Hannah and Her Sisters whenever it comes on TV, which was a lot last year. It’s impossible for me not to be enraptured by it. Here’s to Allen making more instantly rewatchable classics, but the Farrows too deserve personal satisfaction and professional success.

    Exactly. Don’t destroy their lives AGAIN. They’ve all been through enough.

  10. February 11, 2014

    Great article Sasha. I’ve probably only seen just half of Allen’s repertoire, but I do enjoy his work. In fact, A Midnight in Paris inspired my trip to Paris last year, the guy does tell fantastic stories.

    But in regards to his family saga, it is so sordid, I don’t want to think about it too much. But one question I have to ask is, if Woody Allen believe these to be lies and a brainwashing scenario masterminded by Mia, why doesn’t he sue for slander? We all know you can’t sue if someone is telling the truth, so… if I were Woody, and none of this nasty shit was true, I’d sue the hell out of Mia.

    But, where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and I believe there’s some truth to these accusations. It’s just a sad situation and I hope Dylan comes out even stronger due to this renewed awakening of these events, and people stop attacking the Farrows. Mia would have to be the worst, the most vile, vendetta crazed woman to put her children through this. I don’t believe that’s the case. I’m also curious about Ronan’s true paternity and I wonder if Woody’s inquiry about that should be addressed. If they are willing to reopen these allegation wounds, they should be open about who Ronan’s father is.

  11. dan
    February 11, 2014

    “but the Farrows too deserve personal satisfaction and professional success.”

    - agreed. but let’s look at that success. mia farrow is a fantastic and still unappreciated actress (regardless of if it was woody directing her to most of her success) and ronan is obviously achieved a great deal in his own career. but they are the ones attaching themselves to woody when they use the demille award/golden globe night to launch (or re-launch) this campaign against him.

  12. dan
    February 11, 2014

    “Mia would have to be the worst, the most vile, vendetta crazed woman to put her children through this. I don’t believe that’s the case.”

    - one of farrow’s other children, moses, accuses her of just this when he defended woody and said its not true

  13. Sasha Stone
    February 11, 2014

    But one question I have to ask is, if Woody Allen believe these to be lies and a brainwashing scenario masterminded by Mia, why doesn’t he sue for slander?

    He’s too smart. Suing for slander would mean he would have to prove they were lying. He can’t. It would do way more harm than good for him because the court would rule in the Farrow’s favor, given all we now know.

  14. Zach
    February 11, 2014

    @Dan, I’m not saying in any way that he should feel obligated to take time off, but I think it would do him and the film community some good if he takes a year or two off and then comes back with a strong addition to his canon. He’s been working continuously for especially the last 15 years or so, but consequently the results have been inconsistent. Now more than ever I just think he should let it blow over (which is a pretty bad, oversimplifying idiom for me to use, but this is Hollywood, where old news dies fast). And maybe he should think twice before starring in another film. But that’s just my take, and again I’m coming at it from a practical standpoint rather than what would be best for his art.

  15. Zach
    February 11, 2014

    Also, I would still like to see Mia Farrow win an honorary Oscar or the humanitarian award. I wonder if all of this scandal helps her or hurts her case!

  16. Richard B
    February 11, 2014

    I am absolutely not trying to start anything, but I have a question.

    If Woody Allen was ever proven to have molested Dylan, would y’all still watch and appreciate his work?

    Personally, I find moral complications with that, but I would like to hear another perspective.

  17. February 11, 2014

    Richard B, a lot of talented and high-profile people have done very questionable things, but yet, we have to separate that from their cultural or political achievements.

    I hate that Bill Clinton cheated with Monica Lewinsky and lied his ass off about it. But do I still consider him a great president? Yes.

    I hate that Van Gogh suffered mental illness and cut off his eat, but I still LOVE his work.

  18. Stevie gee
    February 11, 2014

    Sasha, I posted this in another thread earlier…not sure how the site really works, but if I think it makes more sense here. Sorry for the double post

    Just to put my two cents into a conversation that will never have an end, and no one will change anyone’s mind, if I really believed that Woody Allen molested a seven year old it would definitely influence how I felt about (or if I could even watch) his work. I personally do not believe he did what he is accused of because, from everything I have ever heard, a sexual predator, who preys on children, doesn’t just go after one child in his life and then never do anything again. He has not been accused by any other person before or since this accusation. Until there is real proof, I honestly do believe in innocence until guilt is proven.

    Having said that, if there is real proof of something, ala Roman Polanksi, I do not know how a person could honestly watch a movie of his without always having that in the back of their minds. Polanski is a CONVICTED sex offender who has never paid his debt to society. I have only seen one Polanski movie ever (the pianist, and only because I like watching all of the oscar nominated movies) and I vividly remember being sick with myself while in the theater for actually paying money to see one of his films. I understand about trying to separate the artist from the art, but if you really believe that Woody Allen sexually mollested an innocent child, I do not know how that doesn’t effect how you view his movies.

    If Woody Allen did what he is accused of doing, and proof is ever shown (and I was an actor worthy of being in one of his films) I would never work with him. My favorite actor is Harrison Ford, and it makes me respect him less because I know he has worked with Polanski.

    I promise I’m not trying to be snarky with my next thought, but via the internet it is hard to tell…I wonder if Mia Farrow ever has regrets for being a very vocal Roman Polanski supporter. I don’t know the timeline, but has she ever publicly defended him after the alleged assault on her daughter, because that would be really strange?

    In the end I do not think Woody ever molested Dylan Farrow, and maybe that is just wishful thinking on the part of a 31 year old from New York who spent a lot of time as a child with his father watching, loving, and discussing Woody Allen’s work. I don’t want those memories tarnished like I know they would be for me if this was proven, beyond a doubt, true.

    Anyway, sorry for the length of the rant and any spelling errors, typing on an iPad sucks

  19. February 11, 2014

    He will never be tried for that crime, never convicted.

    Supposing a crime did indeed happen. One should never forget that.

    unless they start buying and promoting the cancerous lie that Mia Farrow was crazy and wrong to want to protect her children.

    Strangely, you admit to believing Dylan’s letter and to be sure that Mia, the saintly mother, is beyond any criticism.

    This whole piece seems to be a sort of tortuous rationalization of your inability to let go of your amdiration for Woody.

  20. julian the emperor
    February 11, 2014

    This article is really only contributing to the “noise” of this whole affair by insisting on placing some form of blame. You think he did it. Fair enough. I think you know nothing (just like the rest of us).

    I’m not all that interested in hearing people say that Woody did it or Dylan is a liar or Farrow is a maniac. I don’t see how arguing Woody is guilty differs from arguing that Mia Farrow is obsessed with some vendetta, though. Why is it ok to discredit Woody, but not ok to discredit Mia?
    Actually, why not refrain from the whole business of discrediting? What good comes from taking part in placing blame?

    Another thing: This article gives voice to the peculiar idea that Woody should have apologized to everyone (including the fans) for the Soon Yi affair back then. Why? Would you apologize to your neighbors and everyone in the world if you had cheated on your husband?
    What about Mia now? Should she apologize for cheating on Woody with her ex-husband? Apparently (according to herself, anyway) Mia cheated on Woody first, so what are we gonna do…

    I don’t think Woody or Mia or Soon Yi owes anyone (except their loved ones and their own conscience) anything. That is, as long as it stays out of court.

    Also, I don’t believe in this “biographical” reading of Woody’s oeuvre. It’s a fundamentally flawed way of approaching any body of work and it will get you nowhere. Does Scorsese’s obsession with bad guys mean he’s a bad guy himself? Of course it don’t.

  21. Sasha Stone
    February 11, 2014

    Strangely, you admit to believing Dylan’s letter and to be sure that Mia, the saintly mother, is beyond any criticism.

    Why wouldn’t I believe it? The only person who has been caught lying is Woody Allen. Repeatedly. Check out the article linked to below, Brainwashing Woody.

  22. steve50
    February 11, 2014

    Good essay, Sasha.

    The personal business of Woody Allen and the Farrow clan are just that – personal. It is between them and their minions to sort out, not the public. That it is being played for all to hear is embarrassing, or should be, for all concerned. It has no bearing whatsoever on his abilities as an artist.

    I’m tired of hearing about it, frankly.

  23. Sasha Stone
    February 11, 2014

    If Woody Allen was ever proven to have molested Dylan, would y’all still watch and appreciate his work?

    Personally, I find moral complications with that, but I would like to hear another perspective.

    You can’t really proceed on those kinds of ifs. But let’s say another child came forward and said she was molested as a young girl I am going to guess the media blowhards I’ve heard demonizing Mia would claim this was yet more brainwashing. But given what I know about Woody Allen, I don’t think he’s a pedophile. I think it was just one relationship he couldn’t understand nor control. But I think he’s dealt with it, as I said, in art. To be a pedophile you are someone who is only really attracted to children. Clearly, Woody Allen’s attraction is to young women, around 17 to 25. He has no history of child molestation. At the same time, he was never around kids as much as when he was with Mia’s children. I think he was bedazzled by Dylan and confused by his intense feeling towards her. Being a narcissist and having a therapist who seemed to indulge that narcissism he probably thought, on some bizarre level, that the feelings with Dylan were mutual. After all, he’s said again and again he doesn’t value adopted children as biological children,thus he never really thought of Dylan as his “daughter” despite what he now says. I have seen adults latch onto kids as their primary relationship in life. I could also see how that relationship could intensify in bizarre and unexpected ways. In the end, though, unless he’s currently molesting his own children, in my opinion — it seems as though it was an isolated thing.

    Oh but I didn’t answer the question – were he to turn out to be a serial molester I think it would be hard to watch his films.

  24. Jeremy E
    February 11, 2014

    WOW. This one has almost rendered me speechless, for it remains the most psychologically astute in examination and in its final declaration. As a Clinical Psychologist, I applaud you. Just WOW.

  25. phantom
    February 11, 2014

    Oh, Sasha…this is not only one of your best, but probably THE most memorable piece of yours. I am 26, so needless to say I wasn’t aware of this scandal back in the day and now that it was brought up again, everything was new information for me and the more I read about it, the more frustrated I became and as much as I wanted too look away and just stop, I couldn’t. Now I can thanks to this piece that is THE perfect closure anyone could hope for when it comes to this controversy.

  26. Kane
    February 11, 2014

    Well written, Sasha! I find it harder and harder to separate the person from the work but, by golly, I find ways. I love Polanski and ironically enough just watched Rosemary’s Baby for the first time a month ago. Art may be an extension of the artist but at a certain point it becomes a character all it’s own, and it becomes separate from the artist entirely, being free of judgement. That’s how I try to view things and not because I’m trying to cop out, but because I feel it’s the right way of thinking. Now I know this wouldn’t hold up if Polanski or Allen murdered a bus full of children but that would be the point where I, myself, wouldn’t endorse the art. I’d still like to think, even at that point, that the art is separate from the person.

  27. Paddy Mulholland
    February 11, 2014

    I hate that Van Gogh suffered mental illness and cut off his eat, but I still LOVE his work.

    Nice, Simone, equating mental illness to child molestation and cheating on one’s partner.

  28. Kane
    February 11, 2014

    +++1, Paddy.

  29. Stevie gee
    February 11, 2014

    @Kane – I guess that’s the big thing isn’t it…where is the line for everyone individually? I can’t get passed the fact that Polanski raped a 13 year old, I just can’t. I can with Allen becuase there is no proof of anything. As to murdering a bus full of children, I’d venture a guess that most people would agree with you on that one

  30. February 11, 2014

    Give me a break Paddy, I’m at work and typed up quickly some behaviors that have a stigma that makes people change their minds about other people.

  31. Stevie gee
    February 11, 2014

    I honestly wouldn’t even compare adultery to child molestation….adultery at worst, is a sin and an act against another adult. Child molestation is a crime and a horrific act against an innocent

  32. Stevie gee
    February 11, 2014

    But I got what you were trying to say Simone

  33. José R. Ortega
    February 11, 2014

    Nice piece. I am too a fan of Woody Allen’s work and have been since many years. What he has or has not done in his public life is not for me to judge. His art is not to blame. That doesn’t change one bit of the brilliance of his work and how I feel about it.

    I’ve somehow built my own personality around Woody’s characters as well, my mother used to tell me so, and now my wife does too… that’s weird, believe me. I love so much his films, his plays, his books, that I guess some of that is imprinted on me.

    For what is worth, “Whatever Works” is another example of his relation with the old guy/young women issue.

  34. julian the emperor
    February 11, 2014

    “Good essay, Sasha.

    The personal business of Woody Allen and the Farrow clan are just that – personal. It is between them and their minions to sort out, not the public. That it is being played for all to hear is embarrassing, or should be, for all concerned. It has no bearing whatsoever on his abilities as an artist.”

    But, Steve50, Sasha DOES exactly what you claim she doesn’t! By saying that she thinks Woody did it and no one should say anything to discredit anything Dylan or Mia Farrow has said or done. Sasha is definitely contributing to try to “sort it out” in public. Did we read the same text??

  35. Jerry Grant
    February 11, 2014

    Bravo Sasha, this is one of the best well-rounded complicated self-critical and thoughtful discussions of Woody Allen I have seen. I am glad you don’t fall into the trap of simplifying Woody–how could anyone who knows his work so well?–but you also don’t demonize Mia and Dylan. His work, as you show, is immensely complicated, and it’s up to everyone on their own to decide what is of value and what isn’t. The important thing is indeed that Dylan speaks. Ultimately Woody Allen has always framed life as a tragedy, not a comedy–he is the most self-critical and nihilistic filmmaker imaginable. It’s only appropriate that we are critical of him *with* him, suspicious of him, as his movies have taught us to be.

  36. Kane
    February 11, 2014

    Julian, Sasha never said Woody should apologize. She indicated it would be nice but he doesn’t owe one. I understand what she means. You idolize someone for so long, there’s only a few directors out there who speak to you directly (Oliver Stone was my first, giggity) and you feel you know the artist and they know you back. When something like this happens, it’s a betrayal (though not in the traditional sense) to the fans. The image you had is gone, it’s wrecked. You view his movies a little differently now. Things are upside down. Of course an apology isn’t “owed” but it would’ve been nice to those who have stuck with him all those years, like when any of your favorite athletes screwed up.

  37. Pierre de Plume
    February 11, 2014

    About the Woody/Mia mess – It’s not at all easy to draw conclusions from the outside as to what’s been going on all these years. It seems Woody has some questionable tendencies and actions, but I don’t think it’s possible to know how far this has gone. Bringing the longstanding vitriol into the public sphere at this point in time doesn’t shed any more light on the truth, IMO.

    When Manhattan was originally released, coming on the heels of Annie Hall, my recollection is that audiences were uncomfortable with the onscreen relationship between Woody’s and Mariel Hemingway’s characters. It was something that at the time people didn’t discuss as openly, largely because the internet didn’t yet exist. My suspicion is that the film would’ve been more successful, critically and commercially, without that rather creepy narrative element.

  38. February 11, 2014

    Thanks Steve gee, those may not be the best examples to compare, but I know for a fact that people’s perceptions are altered about someone when a controversial stigma is associated with them. And I had art history as a minor at university, and I knew a person who after learning about Van Gogh’s condition, started to discount his marvelous work of art. “how can someone who paints from an insane asylum be considered a real artist?”

    Yes, I still shake my head to this very day.

  39. George
    February 11, 2014

    These cases are always nasty. I do not think it is fair to flatly accuse Mr. Allen of lying (which this article subtly does). On the same token, it isn’t productive to label Ms. Farrow as an insane, vendetta driven harridan. However, I do find it odd that after all these years, Dylan is now coming out with this accusation. Damn near all child molesters abuse more than one child throughout their lives. And Mr. Allen has not been accused of inappropriate behavior outside of this case.

    Granted, the Soon Yi scandal hurt him a lot. Putting your family through that is bad, but the culture LOVES shaming men who date younger women. But in this culture of single motherhood and broken homes run rampant, it’s hard to take some of the self righteous indignation seriously.

    Personally, I tend to believe the New York courts. There was not enough evidence to prosecute. What is bothersome is how bad this would be if the accusation was false. The Hunt did an excellent job portraying how bad a false molestation allegation can be for men and how ignorance turns into flat out violence.

  40. February 11, 2014

    “The image you had is gone, it’s wrecked.”

    But who told you to build up an image in the first place? Your celebrities aren’t God or your daddy. They don’t have to be perfect. So if they don’t live up to an image you created, it’s your fault for creating that image. It was never real, just your fantasy.

  41. Joseph
    February 11, 2014

    This was a great article. I think you express three feelings I share:

    1) Woody Allen’s movies are simply too good and important to merely dismiss because of this claim. Not everyone will agree, but those who have a personal relationship with them, like you and I, don’t want to give them up. Nor should we have to.

    2) Woody Allen is a flawed human being who has made terrible decisions and acted selfishly. We have all done this at some point, but because we idolize the Woody on screen, we often forget that he isn’t without flaws. We need to stop rationalizing his bad behavior and just accept it for what it is: selfishness, narcissism. We cam do this and still admire his films, and even admire who he is as a person, flaws and all.

    3) Woody Allen acted inappropriately with Dylan, but this alone doesn’t make him a child molester because it is one specific instance of inappropriate behavior with his adopted daughter. To me, this is the most important point, and it suggests that our culture needs to rethink what we mean when we throw around “child molester” and “pedophile.”

    In my opinion, and perhaps you agree, when we call Woody either of these terms, we’re trivializing what actual child molesters and pedophiles do. There’s a fine line, and I don’t think Woody crossed it here. Now, if a few more young girls start to speak out and can be proven credible, we’ll consider it.

    You have the most balanced, reasonable take on this issue I’ve read. You’ve found a way to say that Woody acted inappropriately with Dylan, he’s not a monster for doing so, you can still admire and appreciate his movies regardless, and it’s his responsibility and not the Farrows for what happened.

    Hyperbole has been undermining both “sides” of this issue, and I thank you for being logical and sensible.

  42. Kane
    February 11, 2014

    Antoinette, I know, I’m very aware it’s no ones fault but mine which is exactly why an apology is not owed. But damn right I will put them on pedestals. Like I said, when there’s a director who I feel speaks directly to me, I feel like I know them a little bit more. Does that make me weak or at fault? Or does that mean I connect with their art a bit more?

  43. evelyn garver
    February 11, 2014

    I know it is an extremely sensitive issue, and everyone has to make an individual decision, but for those who have never seen CHINATOWN OR ROSEMARY’S BABY, they are two of the finest films ever made. In full disclosure, I’m 61 and loved those POLANSKI masterpieces years before the man who made them committed a vile crime.
    Sasha’s article was great. However, I can come to no conclusion about the Allen-Farrow quagmire. Children rarely make up such stories, but the 80′s and 90′s showed us that some sensational abuse cases were, in fact, proven to be based on falsehoods or created by coaching. I have no idea if Farrow “coached” her child, but it is not unprecedented nor is it unthinkable. Finally, as Sasha observes, attacks on Dylan, are unacceptable to people of good conscience.

  44. February 11, 2014

    “that’s the longest way around when it is so much more logical to simply say, he had a relationship with Dylan that crossed the boundary of a healthy one”

    Two things about this:

    1. The testimony that he had an inappropriate relationship with Dylan stems, obviously, from Mia Farrow and her closest associates. Not exactly saying she’s lying about it, but it is important to remember where that comes from.

    2. It wouldn’t be hard to poke holes in the relatively affectionate relationship of any father and daughter if one were so inclined (“You let her sit on your lap all the time! You’re attracted to her!”). Just because a man dotes on his child doesn’t necessarily suggest that there is an untoward relationship happening. That’s the kind of dangerous line of rationalization that puts innocent people in jail.

    Listen, obviously none of us can say what the real truth is about all of this. And generally, in those types of situations we have to exist in the gray area between both sides where there’s at least a little truth to each side’s argument. Sadly, I think there’s a horrifying gray area to this story that makes everyone look bad, which is a shame because it does color the image of both Woody and Mia onscreen for me. I don’t want to look at The Purple Rose Of Cairo and think anything but “Mia Farrow is the sweetest person on the planet”. Nor do I want to look at Love & Death and think anything but “Woody Allen is a hilarious genius and a fundamentally good guy”.

    Sasha, I understand why you would rally to Dylan and Mia’s defense in this situation. Especially Dylan’s. But there is unequivocal evidence of Mia Farrow’s craziness and loose morality, independent of this scandal. I’m not talking about “quirkiness” or the fact that she “adopted all those children” (although one adoption was rather troubling which I’ll mention below). I’m talking about the fact that she supports Polanski enough to testify as a character witness, yet decries the Globes for the Woody tribute, saying they are insulting victims of child abuse. She also allowed her footage in Woody’s films to be used in the very same tribute when she easily could have (and probably should have) refused. We could delve into the fact that she freely admits to cheating on Woody THE ENTIRE TIME they were together with her ex husband. Let’s not forget that she was 21 and he was 51 when they first married, if we want to use a similar fact against Woody and Soon-Yi. We could also talk about the fact that she participated in an affair with Andre Previn that ended his marriage and drove his wife into a deep depression, or the fact that Andre and Mia do not acknowledge the existence of Soon-Yi currently. I also found it somewhat troubling that Mia went and adopted another Asian girl one month after finding out about the Soon Yi affair. I might take some heat for that last comment, but it gave me pause to read that she did that so quickly after learning the truth, as if she was trying to replace the cast away daughter. Then there’s that creepy, morbid valentine she sent that year. I’m sorry, but I can’t walk away from reading about these people and not think that Mia Farrow is kinda crazy. Does that make her a liar about this situation? No, not necessarily. Does that mean that Woody Allen is innocent? Absolutely not. He will always be the guy that broke up his family to get with the younger girl, and that makes him no less than a deadbeat Dad. He also is the guy who chooses to hurl insults and accusations publicly instead of keeping a level head and letting saner minds prevail, which is what a smarter, more fundamentally decent individual would do. But let’s not point out Woody’s faults and deem her a saint, because that simply isn’t fair. They both basically suck as people. I still love The Purple Rose Of Cairo, though.

  45. Truth
    February 11, 2014

    nice article but this statement is misleading – “he began a lengthy affair with her young daughter, the sister of his own children.”

    mia had many adopted children from her previous husband, Previn. Soon yi (born in ’70 or ’72) was one of them. So was Moses. Allen was seeing Mia but never lived with her, and kept his interaction with the kids to a bare minimum. He barely knew Soon Yi at this time. It wasnt until 1991 after taking her to some basketball games that they got close. That would make her 19 or 21 at the time. Very legal. Cruel to Mia? Hard to say, considering she had been cheating on him already.

    In 1985 Mia persuaded Allen to adopt a child, even though he was reluctant to do so…and so Dylan became a part of their family. For the first time, he had a kid, and he grew to becoming overly affectionate to her.

    Afew years later Ronan was born, supposedly Allen’s son (only recently declared as potentially Sinatra’s). You would think he would be close to his son Ronan…but Woody didnt like him at all. Any guesses why? My guess is that he knew Mia had been cheating on him and was suspicious as hell that he may have been cuckolded by her.

    So maybe he clung to Dylan because she was all he had. She was his only real child, albeit an adopted one. Maybe this is why he felt no guilt in getting involved with Soon yi?

    Either way, my stance on the topic is that I dont have a clue whether Woody molested her or not and neither does anyone else. But i wanted to correct your misleading line that “he began a lengthy affair with her young daughter, the sister of his own children.”

    Soon yi : adopted child with mia’s previous husband, Previn
    Dylan : adopted child with Woody
    Ronan : Sinatra’s kid who was passed off as Woody’s kid

    He had no own children. Dylan was adopted and 13-15 years younger than Soon yi. They didnt even share the same last name. Barely sisters if you ask me.

    -source of information, Judge Elliot Wilks’s statement.

  46. Peter Panavision
    February 11, 2014

    Why did this 20-year-old soap opera resurface over this past year? First was the Father’s Day tweet from Ronan which Mia forwarded to the world and which grabbed the first headlines. Then an in-depth article in Vanity Fair in which Mia questions Ronan’s paternity. Followed by the Golden Globe tweets which included footage sanctioned by Mia for the occasion? This entire replay of the affair strikes me as one of the most cynical publicity stunts ever conceived: to launch Ronan onto the world stage via the re-humiliation of Woody Allen. Sorry, but this makes me one of those who suspect Mia is completely insane. Any woman who would drag her family through such a sordid affair a SECOND IIME is not right in the head.

  47. Patryk
    February 11, 2014

    I’d like to hear more about Dory Previn. Her music is unavailable on iTunes.

  48. CB
    February 11, 2014

    Why wouldn’t I believe it? The only person who has been caught lying is Woody Allen. Repeatedly. Check out the article linked to below, Brainwashing Woody.

    Mia believes that Frank Sinatra is Ronan’s father. She also demanded child support from Woody Allen, citing Allen as Ronan’s father. That’s a lie.

    Mia is not saintly, at least according to Moses Farrow, who has said that she was abusive and ‘brainwashed’ her kids into hating Woody Allen.

    As for the charges against him, I’ll repeat here the 10 reasons why it’s impossible to believe he molested his 7-year-old daughter:

    1. Mia Farrow wrote him a note 6 months before the alleged molestation that said she was going to take his daughter and accused him of being a molester.
    2. The day in question, according to the nanny who was there Woody was never alone with Dylan.
    3. The place it allegedly took place was a small cramped attic. Woody is a claustrophobe.
    4. When Dylan first talked to authorities she said nothing happened. The next day, when she was only with her mother, her story changed.
    5. The Yale child psych team said that either Dylan was coached by her mother or lying or some combination of both; that Woody could not have done it.
    6. The videotape Mia made with Dylan had stops and starts that indicated it was flawed ‘testimony’.
    7. Woody passed a lie detector test.
    8. The criminal investigation turned up nothing, and even a prejudicial judge Wilk (whom Mia gave a future child his middle name after) couldn’t put away Woody.
    9. Moses Farrow has come out and said that Mia ‘brainwashed’ him and his siblings.
    10. 2 logistical issues: Firstly, pedophiles never just have one victim, nor do they only act on their urges once. So Woody’s alleged actions make no sense psychologically. Secondly, why would Woody, right after the affair comes out, decide this is the exact moment he’s going to molest his daughter? Does that make any sense?

    Dylan Farrow is a victim. She is a victim of two terribly flawed parents. And she truly believes her father molested her, and I believe that is because of the coaching and lifelong drilling into her by her mother. Believing this does not make me a misogynist, nor does it mean I automatically doubt the stories and accusations of rape and incest survivors. Rather, those of us who defend Woody Allen with facts, did our research and came to conclusions that are impossible to avoid if you open your mind to the facts.

    People who believe Woody Allen did it have faith are like creationists – they just have FAITH in a fact that cannot be proven.

  49. CB
    February 11, 2014

    Why wouldn’t I believe it? The only person who has been caught lying is Woody Allen. Repeatedly. Check out the article linked to below, Brainwashing Woody.

    Meant to be italicized – argh I usually can do that!

  50. February 11, 2014

    I personally will not seek to destroy the Farrows’ lives, nor will I participate in anyone wishing to do so, but as far as I can tell they began this latest public assault into this issue again.

    Doesn’t that open them up in our world of ruthless media/Internet rage to precisely that? Not that it’s right, but if they want peace and tranquility my own personal advice would be to let this particular dog lie or deal with Woody directly.

    This should not be confused for: “victims shut up about your tormentor or you open yourself up to being destroyed.” In this particular case, though, the accusations played out when the events occurred with different people coming to different conclusions.

    So I guess another way of saying what I’m saying is, why stir the pot again? For what purpose do you publish tweets, a vanity fair article, and a nytimes letter?

  51. Neal
    February 11, 2014

    Really appreciate this post. Been wrestling with how to feel about this and I think your insights and candor are refreshing.

    I don’t know what happened. None of us do. But it’s important we hear Dylan Farrow and really listen to her and not demonize her. This is a discussion we should have, but I get stressed when I’m made to feel that I have to reach a conclusion or resolution. I don’t think there is one. And probably will never be one. The work is the work is the work, as you say. But this all matters and is important when discussing Woody Allen.

  52. February 11, 2014

    Well done! This was a great read, and written so well. I think you offered a very fair critic. One that I can definitely agree with. (Even though I’m not a Woody Allen fan, I tried to be.)

  53. Film Fatale
    February 11, 2014

    So my perfectly harmless post about Moses was deleted for what reason? Because it rebutted the notion that Mia Farrow would never brainwash her children, as her own son has detailed in his interviews? How, exactly, is that offensive enough to be deleted?

  54. Big G
    February 11, 2014

    I really appreciate this article. Awards Daily is my favorite website and I hang on every word Sasha Stone writes.

  55. Robert A.
    February 11, 2014

    A few counterpoints to CB’s post, just in the interest of accuracy:

    * “Firstly, pedophiles never have just one victim”– There are many instances where someone has just one victim as opposed to several. It’s called “situational child molestor.”

    * “Woody passed a lie detector test” — Well, he refused to take a polygraph test that would be administered by the State of Connecticut. Instead, he took a lie detector test administered by someone hired by his legal team. The State of Connecticut refused to accept this as reliable.

    * “The Yale child psych team said that either Dylan was coached by her mother or lying or some combination of both; that Woody could not have done it”– The Yale-New Haven Hospital Child Abuse Study was not accepted as reliable by either the judge or the state prosecutor who originally asked for the study. The prosecutor wanted the team to determine whether Dylan would be able to perceive facts correctly and whether she could testify without damage being done to her. The team consisted of three people, two social workers and a pediatrician, Dr. John Leventhal. No psychiatrists or psychologists were on the team, even though it’s common sense that they might be the most qualified to determine Dylan’s state of mind. Leventhal signed off on the report without ever having spoken to Dylan or Mia. The social workers never testified, and the hospital team only presented the sworn deposition of Leventhal, who again, never examined Dylan. Furthermore, all the notes of this investigation were subsequently destroyed. Dylan’s confidentiality was then violated, and Woody used the “results” of the study to proclaim his innocence, even though the judge, the prosecutor, and the state police have serious doubts about the study’s findings, and the doctor himself supposedly backed down from his contention. (And the notes of the investigation were destroyed? Really? What’s that about?)

    “The criminal investigation turned up nothing, and even a prejudicial judge could turn up nothing”– Not quite accurate. The prosecutor claimed there was “probable cause” to continue an investigation on the allegations, but it was not pursued because of concern for Dylan being thrust into the media spotlight more than she already was.

    “The day in question, according to the nanny who was there, Woody was never alone with Dylan.”– According to the Vanity Fair article, three people present that day gave testimony that was consistent with Dylan’s account. On the day of the alleged assault, a babysitter present gave sworn testimony that Allen and Dylan were gone for about 15-20 minutes. A different babysitter present on the same day gave sworn testimony that she saw Woody facing Dylan with his head in her lap. A French tutor on that day also testified that she found that Dylan was not wearing underpants under her sundress. The first babysitter also gave sworn testimony that she did not tell Mia about Woody and Dylan being missing until AFTER Dylan had made her statements, which contradicts the idea that Mia fed the abuse to Dylan and “brainwashed” her. All of this sworn testimony from several sources contradict Moses Farrow’s account of what happened that day.

    * “The place it allegedly took place in was a small cramped attic. Woody is a claustrophobic.”– This proves nothing. We don’t know to what degree Woody is a claustrophobic. I’m rather claustrophobic myself, but I could be in a small cramped attic without much trouble because I know I could escape easily. Part of the claustrophobia terror is being in a closed space where you do not have control of escaping, such as a stalled elevator. I’ve always found this argument particularly meaningless.

    * “When Dylan first talked to authorities she said nothing happened. The next day, when she was only with her mother, her story changed.”–Much is made about finding discrepancies in the testimony of Dylan when she was seven, but it’s odd how so few people question the discrepancy in Woody’s testimony. If you read the “Brainwashing Woody” article that Sasha mentions, it points out many discrepancies he has made within the same interview. Another example is when Woody was questioned by authorities about the allegations, he claimed he had never been up in the attic room. When the authorities informed him they’d found a sample of his hair up in the attic, he then claimed he might have “poked his head up there” a time or two. (PS Moses Farrow’s story has also changed, by the way, first claiming the accusations were true, then claiming they weren’t.)

    As a side note, Allen was in therapy with a child psychologist about his inappropriate behavior with Dylan long before any molestation allegations were made, according to the Vanity Fair article. Also, Allen lost four court battles–a lawsuit, a disciplinary charge against the prosecutor, and two appeals–and was made to pay more than $1 million in Mia’s legal fees, which further contradicts the argument that all of this is just a product of the vengeful mind of Crazy Mia, Crazy Mia!

    Everything I’ve mentioned here is a matter of public record. You can look it up. The more I read about this whole abhorrent situation, the more and more ludicrous Woody’s defense seems–that it’s all just a product of Crazy Mia’s brainwashing. I guess we’re supposed to believe that not only is Mia a crazy vengeful woman who not only “brainwashed” Dylan into thinking she was molested by Woody and doing such a good job of it that Dylan still believes it 20 years later, but she also “brainwashed” all her other children so effectively that they, as functioning adults, also do not understand they were brainwashed, except for Moses, whose brainwashing only half-took, I guess… not only is Mia all that, but she apparently also brainwashed friends and family and employees into testifying about stuff they didn’t really see, and she also has the judge, the prosecutor, the state police, private investigators, and the entire legal system under her control, ready to do her evil bidding.

    Damn! The revenge of Rosemary Woodhouse!

  56. John C.
    February 11, 2014

    The only victim here is Woody Allen. The Farrows’ accusations didn’t hold up in court, they don’t hold up in the court of public opinion either.

  57. DD
    February 11, 2014

    The attempt you make to analyse Woody through his films is entirely arbitrary. The artistic process of Woody Allen, the way he does or doesn’t introduce personal elements into his films, is only known to him. To make assumptions that “He is probably most like the character Martin Landau plays in Crimes and Misdemeanors” is an overly simplistic approach to the complexity of the issue at hand. There is no evidence whatsoever that Woody meant to ‘confess’ something that still hadn’t occured around ’87 or ’88 when he wrote Crimes and Misdemeanors. Using his fictional characters to incriminate him makes no sense. And as an analysis of what the ‘themes’ of his films are, your article is at best amateurish. Case in point: “Women like Charlotte Rampling in Stardust Memories and Mia Farrow in Husbands and Wives were just nuts. Woody was the sane one caught between them. He prefers them as naive as possible. The smarter they are, the more unbearable. Annie Hall becomes less attractive the more she evolves”. Really? That’s what you got from Annie Hall and the rest of the films you mention? Why not mention Mia’s character in Zelig for example? Or in Broadway Danny Rose?

    The analysis you then proceed to introduce in your comment above is simply infuriating. In spite how well we think we know the case, making statements like “I think he was bedazzled by Dylan and confused by his intense feeling towards her. Being a narcissist and having a therapist who seemed to indulge that narcissism he probably thought, on some bizarre level, that the feelings with Dylan were mutual”, is ludicrous. What gives you such an authority to dissect his psyche in this way? Your demonization of Woody, is as immature and ill conceived as his against Mia.

  58. Bebe
    February 11, 2014

    To anyone trying to argue Woody’s case with facts, sorry. Whatever you posted or are about to post, none of it will wash. The facts ALL align in favor of Dylan’s story and Mia’s sincerity. If you do try to make that argument, all it means if that you haven’t actually read the facts. So read Justice Wilk’s custody judgment, read the various pieces that have been posted on Vanity Fair, then try to argue facts. You just can’t make them up or present Woody Allen’s totally false framing of events that are wholly contradicted by documented facts and sworn statements and expect to be taken seriously.

  59. Greg from Portland
    February 11, 2014

    I applaud your thoughtfulness in your article, I truly do. Yet I can’t help but feel we’re all either shying away from some harsh truth or looking for a loop hole that isn’t there. In Dylan’s letter she mentions the ambiguity of the whole damn thing. She’s right. The ambiguity, the confusion, the paradoxes… they’re all there. Despite my own confusion on the matter I know this: 1. Woody Allen has made some of my favorite movies of all time. I’ve connected with his art in profound ways. The man himself is a creative hero of mine. 2. Woody Allen IS a monster.

    To say that because that what he did to Dylan only probably happened to one girl doesn’t make him a monster is bullshit.

    I say this because I have been personally affected by sexual abuse in several cases. I have had both close friends and family members, men and women, at different ages and at different walks of life, be sexually assaulted. And make no mistake, any person who would take advantage of another in such a manner is a monster.

    In the most recent circumstance in my life, it was a father secretly abusing only one of his daughters. And he got away with it. He hasn’t been prosecuted and likely won’t be. And his daughter is now emotionally crippled in ways that none of us can truly fathom. No he didn’t murder her. But he stole something from her and again, crippled her. And only through years of work and grace will she be able to rise above what happened to her.

    Again, I truly appreciate the thoughtfulness with which you created your article. Forgive me if I did not have the time or patience to do the same.

  60. Bob Burns
    February 11, 2014

    excellent writing. agree with your analysis, but wonder…..

    what would it be like/mean? the missing apology? even if Allen, the award winning writer and story teller, was to sit down and sincerely start writing that apology…. ?

    I cannot imagine. seriously.

  61. Sasha Stone
    February 11, 2014

    what would it be like/mean? the missing apology? even if Allen, the award winning writer and story teller, was to sit down and sincerely start writing that apology…. ?

    I cannot imagine. seriously.

    Bob, well for one thing I think it would have gone a long way towards helping that family heal. Instead he made them live with two decades of shame — on Mia for being a psychotic jealous woman, on Dylan for supposedly being brainwashed. Had he apologized publicly I think it would have shown that he knew the difference between right and wrong (he does, clearly). As it is, he continually and deliberately pretended as though there was nothing wrong with what he did regarding Soon-Yi. So to many it seemed like if he could be that deceptive/steeped in denial about the one thing, surely he must be steeped in denial/lying about the other thing. I have always thought he should have just accepted responsibility for what he could admit to, the thing everyone could see plainly with their two eyes. But alas.

  62. lily
    February 11, 2014

    the more I read about this case, the more i’m convinced of dylan and mia’s side of it. and the gender disparity is very dismaying to me- i don’t know how anyone can read all those accounts and not see that woody’s relationship toward dylan was at least very disturbing. after reading all these articles i think that’s indisputable. and the fact that doesn’t seem to bother so many men and it’s all just crazy, crazy mia, even after all these years…it’s starting to weird me out.

  63. Sasha Stone
    February 11, 2014

    1. Woody Allen has made some of my favorite movies of all time. I’ve connected with his art in profound ways. The man himself is a creative hero of mine. 2. Woody Allen IS a monster.

    Yep, yep, yep. It’s a hard thing to reconcile. I guess I’m saying these two thoughts can be joined in your mind provided you abandon who Woody used to be. After all, haven’t we done this with so many great artists in the past? If this is the only thing preventing people from accepting Dylan’s testimony, or from believing Mia to be a calculating mastermind, to me it’s a fair tradeoff. I don’t buy the story that Mia brainwashed Dylan. I believe Dylan and I believe Mia – neither has ever been caught lying. But at the same time I don’t believe in shunning Allen’s work as a result of these facts. Perhaps that makes me a monster too. I don’t know.

  64. Sasha Stone
    February 11, 2014

    What gives you such an authority to dissect his psyche in this way? Your demonization of Woody, is as immature and ill conceived as his against Mia.

    It is merely my own opinion based on a subjective reading of his work, patterns therein, and resulting actions exposed. Believe me, I have a long list that can back up the assumptions I’ve made in this article. But I thought it would be too bullying. I pulled out a few selective examples but if you want me to start at the beginning of Woody’s canon and work my way through it I can do that. Hell, I can do it all day. Moreover, your comment only proves you are part of the “heart wants what it wants” Million Man March. It’s so easy to spot, buddy. Seriously. You seem to want continual war. Have at it. I needed to resolve it in my own mind. This is the best I could come up with. But let’s listen to you explain why Woody had a relationship with the supposedly insane Mia Farrow for 12 years and made Hannah and Her Sisters as an ode to her motherhood only to turn around and paint her as a monster mother who collects children then abuses and ignores them. Huh. And he supposedly just discovered that once she found the beaver shots of Soon-Yi? Interesting.

  65. Sasha Stone
    February 11, 2014

    The only victim here is Woody Allen. The Farrows’ accusations didn’t hold up in court, they don’t hold up in the court of public opinion either.

    Right poor baby. Winning and Oscar two years ago, and a lifetime achievement award this year…poor guy! He really has been conspired against in the worst way. Give me a break. And “didn’t hold up in court” can be translated as “couldn’t be prosecuted because of safety concerns for the child.”

  66. Sasha Stone
    February 11, 2014

    So my perfectly harmless post about Moses was deleted for what reason? Because it rebutted the notion that Mia Farrow would never brainwash her children, as her own son has detailed in his interviews? How, exactly, is that offensive enough to be deleted?

    I didn’t delete your comment. Moses is entitled to his own experience but he can’t speak for Dylan.

  67. Sasha Stone
    February 11, 2014

    Woody passed a lie detector test.

    You have to keep up the story. I can’t catch you up on all of these things. Figure out for yourself what the lie detector test really was all about.

  68. Sasha Stone
    February 11, 2014

    Truth, read the article below, Brainwashing Woody re: the adopted children vs. the biological ones. The more Woody protests that he “had nothing to do with the other children” and that they “weren’t blood relatives” the worse he sounds. So it is to his benefit to shut the hell up about it and not try to justify it. There is no justification. It was wrong, full stop.

  69. Sasha Stone
    February 11, 2014

    Julian, Sasha never said Woody should apologize.

    Just saying I think it would have gone a long way for his case is all.

  70. Gina
    February 11, 2014

    I think that as a society we have a lot to learn about forgiveness. All those people who committed a crime, but are no danger to society, are forever tainted. There’s no going back to a clean slate for them, ever. So suppose Woody Allen would have admitted of some wrongdoing . What would the outcome of it be? Do you think The Farrows (and the whole world) would have stopped at that? Until they completely destroyed Allen as an human being and an artist they wouldn’t have relented.
    Look at Polanski. He admitted the crime, he even spent some time in jail and we’re still not satisfied even when the victim herself wants to be done with all that. We want him burnt at the stake together with his films. What does that say about us?

  71. Big G
    February 11, 2014

    I can’t get enough of AwardsDaily. Such a valuable website. There’s nothing else like it out there.

  72. February 11, 2014

    Film fatale, I see your comment about Moses that was posted 5 or 6hours ago. Was there another one?

  73. Sasha Stone
    February 11, 2014

    Gina, two separate issues. You are insinuating that Farrow was out for blood because was supposedly jealous and then you say the public want to pitchfork after Roman Polanski. I agree with the second thing, not the first. There are so many ways Mia could have fucked with Woody Allen – if she planted memories why would she stop at “he put his finger in my vagina.” Why not go whole hog and say oral sex? She didn’t. She could have planted Dylan’s underwear somewhere and had a detective search his place and find it. Believe me, would have come up with a hell of a lot more than this. Moreover, they stayed silent for mostly 20 years. Mia accepted her role as actress in his films, wouldn’t abandon that, and they all went on with their lives. It erupted all of these years later because, frankly, Twitter. The ease of spreading thoughts and information has enabled Ronan to get out his feelings to a mass audience. Trust me, if it had been me finding those nude photos of my daughter? Woody Allen would have trouble walking today. He got off light with Mia.

  74. Big G
    February 11, 2014

    I am so admiring of the hard work Ryan Adams and Sasha Stone do at AwardsDaily. I would do their laundry for them if I could.

  75. Scott
    February 11, 2014

    Thanks for such a thoughtful piece on the subject Sasha. I do believe that art can be separated from the artist.

    In a case like this, the love for Woody Allen movies and his characters does not determine innocence. I’m assuming that most people on this site have never met Woody Allen and certainly don’t know his inner workings and what he is capable of. As Sasha points out the truth seems to be on Mia’s and her daughter’s side. The logic is there.

    For film lovers who still want to cherish MANHATTAN and ANNIE HALL it’s really a matter of accepting the artist’s flaws as part of the product or holding them apart from the work.

  76. Anna
    February 11, 2014

    I’ve been reading awardsdaily (/oscarwatch) for about 10 years now, and I have to say this is one of the best things I’ve ever read on this site (and certainly the best article I’ve read on this subject). I remember being very angry and frustrated with Sasha a few years ago when the Polanski drama was discussed. I took the standpoint that people should not support such a man, in any respect. I realize now it’s because I don’t really enjoy Polanski as a film maker, and so of course it was easy for me to “boycott” his movies. Then Dylan’s letter came out and I realized my own hypocrisy, since I still couldn’t wait to see Blue Jasmine. Woody is one of my favorite filmakers, and thus I have been feeling so conflicted. This article has really helped me put things in perspective, Thank you Sasha

  77. Bob Burns
    February 11, 2014

    I understand the reason to apologize and agree with you, I just can’t imagine what he would actually say.

  78. Yvette
    February 11, 2014

    Thank you for this. I needed it. You’ve touched on something very personal. Mia was always my favorite Woody muse: There’s real beauty and grace in Alice, Radio Days, Broadway Danny Rose, Purple Rose of Cairo and most of all, Hannah and Her Sisters. They made an impact on me during some lonely, confusing times in high school. I had one of those 70s mirrors with his face on it I found at a flea market and it hung on my wall all through my teenage years. He was my punk rock…I can’t just turn that off.
    So we don’t so much separate the artist from the art, but accept the humanity…I think I can do that.
    But Sasha, tell me this: My 21-year old niece is smart, funny, creative, and loves films with a brain a heart, and irreverence. Woody is an unknown to her. We know Woody’s art – that came first for us. How do I explain all this to her? Will his genius be lost on her generation? How will you share your love for Hannah and Her Sisters with your daughter?

  79. LeoSylver
    February 11, 2014

    How could he have managed to give out such great performances, coming from a director who is not so hands on with direction, is it the script that does all the work?

  80. Scott
    February 11, 2014

    It does get complicated when it is work that you love. I know it was so easy for me to dismiss every film Mel Gibson ever made simply based upon higher ground and that turned out to be my enlightenment on the subject. Had it been Robert Altman…

    Mel and a song by Guns N’ Roses that holds no special meaning now but was very controversial when it came out which I at the time still liked and played endlessly regardless. One In a Million. Maybe it was just the mood I was in.

  81. John C.
    February 11, 2014

    The DA said he didn’t prosecute out of concern of child’s well being and safety? Does that sound like BS to you? Because it is. Any prosecutor would be chomping at the bit to put a famous celebrity away. The fact that the matter wasn’t pursued means he didn’t think he could win it/there wasn’t any/enough evidence.

  82. Robert
    February 12, 2014

    @Truth: your suggestion that Woody had no “real” children with Mia is offensive. Adopted children are as “real” as natural born children. Woody was the father of Moses, Dylan and Ronan (then called Satchel). In fact he sued Mia for custody of them and lost because the judge found him to be a an unfit parent.

    So yes, Woody began a sexual relationship with Soon-Yi who was (and still is) the daughter of his partner for 12 years and the older sister of his 3 children. You can use Woody’s spin language that Soon-Yi wasn’t “really” his children’s sister, or that he barely spoke to her for many years ( as if that somehow makes her less of a sister to his children) but the fact is he seduced the 19 year old daughter of his partner and in doing so separated her from her family.

    Whether or not he molested Dylan (and reading Dylan’s recent letter I see no reason to think she’s not being truthful) he destroyed a family. What kind of a person does that?

    This notion about who was adopted and who wasn’t in the Farrow family shows a shallowness and deep misunderstanding of what actually makes a family.

  83. Truth
    February 12, 2014

    Sasha, I read the Brainwashing article you asked me to. But I find it to be an incredibly biased opinion of a feminist aiming to illustrate Allen’s double standards rather than comment on the alleged molestation. I’ve given my responses to her Lie Expositions below…

    Lie#1 – Mia never complained about his parenting.
    Though her comment to a psychologist is documented, it only further emphasizes that she DID in fact have faith in his parenting. Why else would she push for MORE adoptions with him later on?

    Lie#2 – The Nude Photos were for Modeling!
    Probably Allen is lying to himself that the photos were just for modeling. Maybe he was trying to justify his actions to a harshly judgemental society? But to me, what’s clear is that Mia showing those photos to the other children is down right wrong! She HUMILIATED her own adopted daughter by slut shaming her. Not to mention, demonizing her husband.

    Lie #3: I Was a Great Parent! Mia Says So!
    Allen’s parenting towards Dylan was good, as Mia said in her affidavit. She did so despite having mentioned what she did to the psychologist about Woody’s overt affection towards Dylan. He obviously saw himself as only Dylan’s parent. Not Soon Yi’s or anyone elses. And so did Mia. Why else would she have said he’s a good parent if he ignored the other kids? Well, because he wasn’t their parent and she recognized and accepted that.

    Lie #4: Mia is crazy. Evidence: She still wanted to do our movie.
    She had just opened a case against him, and then asked about their movie together. That is nuts. 13 years later, Allen recommending her to be in a movie is weird, but not nuts.

    Lie #5: Mia is a Publicity-Hungry Attention Whore; Woody is Private
    So Mia called Woody 5 times a day wanting to negotiate an end to the publicity. So what was she looking for in the negotiation? I suppose whatever she was looking for was not acceptable to Woody, and hence there was no agreement. Regardless, he was not the one pushing the publicity. It was Mia who did so and continues to do so because he didn’t agree to her terms. She is the attention whore.

    …. I stopped reading further at this point because it was just too pointless and biased.

    I’m quite sure Woody has lied on several points to save his skin. But sometimes you need to tell a lie to protect yourself from someone elses lie.

    A Separation – The father lied about not knowing of her pregnancy, because she lied about his man handling being the reason for her miscarriage. In his heart, he knew he was innocent, but was forced to lie in order to be seen as innocent in the eyes of the law. Perhaps Woody was in a similar predicament.

  84. Pablo
    February 12, 2014

    A really interesting article Sasha.

    Personally, I have never believed that Woody Allen abused Dylan Farrow. I have always felt that she was coerced by her mother into making up malicious lies. Mia Farrow likes to portray herself as a modern day Mother Teresa but the truth is far different.

    It is ironic the tweets that come from Ronan Farrow about moral transgressions. The vast age difference between him and Soon-Yi (17 years) meant that they barely shared the same house as siblings would. It is doubtful that he even knows Soon-Yi.

    I feel that Dylan lost her father 20 years ago and only has one parent in her life and is not going to lose her.

    I sincerely hope that this open letter in the New York Times does not jeopardise Cate Blanchett’s chances to win next month.

  85. DD
    February 12, 2014

    Thanks for responding Sasha.

    I think you misunderstood my comment. I simply disagree with the premise of your article, that you can make assessments on his character based on his work as a filmmaker. The degree to which his works are personal is only known to him and although we are obviously allowed to have opinions about it, using his films / characters as incriminating evidence for the current allegations with a startling degree of conviction and based on nothing more than a hunch is inconsistent with journalistic ethics and serious film criticism, both of which are virtues I have admired your blog for since the oscarwatch days. I was only refferring to your “Woody is Landau! Woody is Jasmine!” statements, not making a case for Woody. It’s worrying that you went with the “if you’re not with me, you’re against me” route in response to my comment.

    I was also particularly appalled at your arbitrary, pseudo – Freudian analysis of his relationship with Dylan. However, I did not get into any of the pro-Woody or anti-Mia discussion although somehow you presume I did. And your assumptions about the million “man” march, let’s just say I prefer not to conform to the gender binary. Nor do I support Woody in this case.

    Also, why do I have to explain anything about his relationship breakdown with Mia? And to answer your question as to why he dated her for 12 years and then called her a monster: Didn’t she do the exact same thing?

    Beaver shots of Soon-Yi? Why are you suddenly “slut-shaming” her?

  86. Peter Panavision
    February 12, 2014

    Since everyone is speculating on this issue I have some speculating of my own:

    Act One: Woody Allen is one of America’s most celebrated directors. He meets Mia, an actress whose career has stalled, a woman of unrivaled ambition who has stopped at nothing to achieve her goals…a master of casting couch techniques who has already married a legendary entertainer 30 years her senior and broken up the marriage of a famous composer, etc.

    Act Two: The actress sees in Woody her latest ticket to the top. He casts her in a movie and she entraps him with her tarantula arms. She “adopts” this eccentric man into her large extended family in order to completely control him. For a decade she snares leading roles in all of his films.

    Act Three: Woody begins to feel trapped and longs to escape. With Mia in control he is losing his creative freedom and sense of control over his art. Yet he fears her and does not know how to make a break. He takes notice of Soon Yi, an adopted daughter of Mia’s whom he hasn’t paid much attention to. She is now a woman of 20. They form a bond over their fear and dislike of the actress. Woody’s subconscious mind recognizes a path to freedom and they begin a sexual relationship.

    Act Four: The relationship is discovered…as Woody always subconsciously wanted it to be. Mia begins an all-out assault on Woody in order to destroy him…including pedophile charges against Dylan. She drags her entire family across the front pages of the entire world in her mad campaign of revenge. Her children become tools in her personal battle, weapons of war.

    Act Five: Humiliated, Woody resumes his career but has been deeply wounded. It takes a long time for him to regain his footing. In the meantime Mia recreates herself as a Mother Teresa of media. She grooms her son Ronan in her image and waits 20 years for the right moment.

    Act Six: 20 years following the scandal, Mia and Ronan reignite the scandal in an effort to launch Ronan’s career as a liberal host on MSNBC. Once again Woody is dragged through the mud and his career is in jeopardy. Mia has once again used a man in her life, now her son Ronan, to achieve her goals.

    Future Act: Ronan falters as a TV personality. He starts to realize that he has been programmed by his mother to act out her own desires. At a family Thanksgiving at Mia’s country home he puts a bullet between her eyes. He is hauled away in a strait jacket…now in the tarantula arms of the state.

    END

    To me, this makes as much sense as anything else on the subject. :)

  87. Bob Burns
    February 12, 2014

    well…. that was creepy. violent misogyny in the morning.

  88. Casey
    February 12, 2014

    This is so tough, and honestly I wish it would die down – for the sanity and health of all involved (not us – but the families).

    I am not saying ANYONE in this situation is lying (and I personally believe Dylan believes her statements whether or not they are factual). The timing is the ONLY problem I have. The Golden Globes honor Woody and Mia amps it up on twitter. Then BOOM everything blows up. At the same time Mia allowed scenes containing her performances alongside Woody be included in the montage – yet condemns the entire thing. Wouldn’t she wanted to be as far away from Woody Allen as possible? If he was in fact a man who molested her child – wouldn’t she never want to associated with his films? THAT’S what I find truly hard to believe.

    What are your thoughts on this Sasha? Curious.

    And much respect to the family – I do not mean in any way to condemn anyones actions – be it Woody’s, Mia’s, anyone involved.

  89. CB
    February 12, 2014

    Peter Panavision, that was hilarious and all true (except part 6, hopefully). I just hope Ronan at some point acknowledges that he’s only who he is thanks to the father (or legal father) he’s made a career of disparaging. He’s not gonna make it on MSNBC because he has no charisma or presence. He is hardly in Maddow’s league, not even Chris Hayes.

  90. Sasha Stone
    February 12, 2014

    well…. that was creepy. violent misogyny in the morning.

    Hard to choke down with a morning cup of coffee, ain’t it?

  91. keifer
    February 12, 2014

    There are lots of artists who do great work and are assholes. I just finished reading a biography on Oona Chaplin (Eugene O’Neill’s daughter who married Charlie Chaplin). O’Neill treated his children, and especially his daughter, abominably.

    Eugene O’Neill was a complete asshole to his children, and yet, he is the most revered American playwright.

    I can respect the work, and admire it, and reward it, and love it. But the man? Nah. Same goes for Woody and Roman.

  92. keifer
    February 12, 2014

    Same goes for Joan too (and don’t tell me you don’t know who I mean!)

  93. Peter Panavision
    February 12, 2014

    CB: glad you got the joke. The last movie I saw was Manchurian Candidate and that clearly influenced me.

  94. Stephen
    February 12, 2014

    In my view this is one of the best articles you’ve written, Sasha. As an admirer of Allen’s films but by no means a scholar of them or his life, I am grateful that the article has given me a lot to think about. In the end I agree with you that we should embrace the complexity of Allen, not just the parts we wish to see. And yet to do so does not mean that his artistry is any less brilliant. His is a story which illuminates the human condition in ways that both fascinate and repel.

  95. JJ
    February 12, 2014

    Really thoughtful piece. I think a lot of us are struggling with the conundrum of “Can we still like Woody’s films even if he’s a person of questionable – possibly even sociopathic – moral character?” He is a profound thinker but I think the problem is his investigations into the dark realities of life aren’t just hypothetical – he’s been there, done that. The problem is, he’s really damaged people’s lives – I feel terrible for Mia – what a position to be in – I feel terrible for the angry son – he’s SO angry – and I feel terrible for Dylan. The person I do not feel sorry for his Soon Yi. Ugh – she’s his sociopathic match. Clearly she has no guilt about what she did.

    Time usually corrects all injustices, at least karmically. I think the Farrow clan is in outrage right now because this appears to never have happened. But I think it’s happening now. I think that people are finally waking up to the weirdness of the Soon Yi situation. Let’s face it – it’s fucking weird.

  96. Joe Calahan
    February 12, 2014

    Why hasn’t this man been in the spotlight since 2001 when he talked about movies made in New York at the 74th annual academy awards. In an age where visual effects are state of the art, this guy is a human being walking on all parts of life.

  97. Truth
    February 12, 2014

    @robert – Why is Woody solely responsible for destroying this family? Was Soon yi uncapable of thinking for herself? Is she not to blame as well? And was Mia not destroying the family by cheating on her partner of 12 years for roughly 12 years?

    You are right about the judge favoring Mia. During the custody battle following their split, Moses sided with his mother and even said he wished Woody would kill himself. It was only some years later that he felt he had been manipulated all along, and now sides firmly with Woody. He has accused his mom of physical abuse, and has claimed she treated her children as pawns. Note that he has nothing to gain from this, and Woody had no incentive to manipulate him either as the case wasnt reopened after 1992. So what about his remarks? Do they not deserve the same respect as Dylan’s? His too is a story of a victim, granted the alleged crime is not as scandalous as a molestation.

  98. Sasha Stone
    February 12, 2014

    Note that he has nothing to gain from this, and Woody had no incentive to manipulate him either as the case wasnt reopened after 1992

    You mean, of course, other than financial support. And you also mean, of course, other than being one of the mostly forgotten children Woody never paid attention to while spending all of his time absorbed in Dylan.

  99. February 12, 2014

    Nice one, Peter Panavision.

  100. Truth
    February 12, 2014

    sasha, is there some evidence of financial support or is it speculation? Of what I have researched, he seems to be doing quite alright on his own. Are you suggesting his morals are so corrupt that he would sell out his sister just for some money? Is Mia not capable of providing financial support? Seriously, if there is a source for your claim, I would love to know it.

  101. Truth
    February 12, 2014

    Woody not paying attention to Mia’s peviously adopted children is more of Mia’s fault than it is Woody’s. It’s not as if he gave it a try and then said, ah they’re boring im done with that. He made it clear from the start. If Mia wanted a father for her kids she wouldn’t have gotten involved with Woody. Since she was their mother, I would say it is her fault that they didn’t have a father who spent time with them. She was guilty of tolerating Woody’s aloofness.

  102. RobertPPeters
    February 12, 2014

    This is a deeply troubling article. You have been congratulated on it, Sasha, but I’m afraid I cannot join this chorus. I have two important issues with your stance.
    1) It is a fundamental principle of any rational and fair judicial system that a person who has not found guilty of a crime is de facto innocent. Thus Woody Allen is innocent. In a case like this one where two parties claim to tell the truth but both versions contradict each other it is absolutely essential to stick to the principle of In dubio pro reo. Maybe Allen is a pedophile, maybe Mia and Dylan are liars, maybe the truth lies in between these extremes: I don’t know and you don’t know either. But nevertheless you write that Allen “did terrible things”, that he is “dysfunctional”, that he is “phony”. I wonder how you know these things, I wonder how you come to such damning judgement, implicating that the man indeed is a criminal. Everyone is obliged to his or her opinon but there is a line between writing “I am of the opinion that Allen is capable of doing terrible things” and writing “He did terrible things”. Again: How do you know? If you have evidence against Allen, go to the authorities and hand it over. If not, I don’t see a justification for such phrasing. To be very clear: I am neither pro nor contra Allen. I simply don’t know what happened. I don’t know if Farrow is more trustworthy than Allen, I don’t know if Dylan is a victim of Allen, a victim of Farrow or just a liar. The two parties and their followers see indications for both versions. In such cases it is essential to stick to the basic principle of the benefit of the doubt. If we give this up and call Allen a pedophile we give up a rational judicial system.
    2) You look for hints abouts Woody Allen’s “real” character in his films. I think this is a misuse of art. Art is not about the artist, art is art. A work of art exists independent of the artist once it has been given to the world. I am not at all interested in artists, I am interested in art. It is so often the case that a work of art is more interesting than the artist himself. It is so often the case that a work of art is deeper, more humane and more intelligent than its maker (just compare novels and interviews with novelists or Hemingway’s often so very tender stories and the dumb macho image he gave himself). So Allen’s films are not about Allen, they are meditations on the world, made by him but not about him. This is essential when it comes to art: The biographical approach dwarfs a work of art. – And I see hints that you have problems with Allen’s work now since he, in your eyes, is a terrible human being. I enjoy Wagner’s music – guy was a terrible anti-Semite. I love Caravaggio’s paintings – guy was a murderer. I admire most of Polanski’s films – guy is a rapist (admired and defended by Mia Farrow). I don’t see the necessity of artists as good people and them being “bad” people does not disturb my pleasure in art because I really don’t care about the artist.

  103. TOM
    February 12, 2014

    I really admire the work of this guy. My only beef with him – I wish for once he could
    a movie that shows 1 happily married couple where neither spouse cheats. Maybe it’s what he’s experienced in his life – but I’d estimate that 97% of his films has 1 person in a marriage engaged in some affair. Guess the Hannah line regarding marriage/Catholics & pidgeons is just a joke to him. Though his films are interesting, I watch them just to see 1 great marriage. But – Hannah/MCaine cheater, Blue Jasmine/Alec Baldwin cheater/Manhattan/MMurphy cheater/Another Woman, Ian Holm cheater/Mighty A – HBCarter cheater/Alice – Baldwin & MIa both cheaters, Sweet & Lowdown, think SPenn married SMorton and cheated, Interiors, Cobb cheater, MinParis – Owen well, newlyweds cheating, VBarcelona – Patricia Clarkson marriage cheater, Manhattan Murder mystery…wait, that might be a ‘good’ marriage (2nd marriage – probably cheating in 1st marriage) – but Alan Alda goes about hitting on a married woman – BDRose – Mia’s husband cheats, Husbands & Wives…can’t remember cheating, but definitely broken marriages…
    Anyways, the man is relentlessly creative and maybe (since he finally seems to have a ‘perfect marriage,’ he’ll be able to show something solid so that future generations who view his work can have some type of good marriage role model.

  104. Jerry Grant
    February 12, 2014

    “But nevertheless you write that Allen “did terrible things”, that he is “dysfunctional”, that he is “phony”. I wonder how you know these things, I wonder how you come to such damning judgement, implicating that the man indeed is a criminal.”

    I agree. At one point in the article, Sasha writes, “it doesn’t matter if he did it, he’ll never be convicted.” Yes, okay. Except that the judgments of him as a person that follow in the comments section from Sasha are as if we are assuming he is a child molester. It may seem like fair to call Woody Allen a “monster” (as Sasha does in the comments sections) because he got with his girlfriend’s daughter. But I worry that our judgment of *that* works to justify talking about Woody Allen as if he is a child molester, even though it remains quite uncertain that he is.

    I admire Sasha’s article, because it’s able to talk even-handedly about how to think about and appreciate Woody Allen’s work in light of everything, and in light of the possibility that he did these terrible things. But I don’t agree that the possibility that he molested Dylan is certain enough to now consistently brand him as a “terrible person.” If he did certainly do those things, he’s a terrible person. If he didn’t… well, I’m not so sure… sleeping with your girlfriend’s daughter is pretty terrible, and it’s understandable that people are pissed about him for that… but it is not the same order of magnitude as sexually abusing a 7-year-old. This is a distinction that I think Sasha could make more carefully. She feels compelled to talk about him as terrible, because she believes he’s guilty of that crime? Or not *quite* guilty of the crime Dylan said, but guilty enough? (She says she doesn’t think he’s a pedophile, but was too affectionate… and I probably agree with that guess.) Certainly guilty of messing around and getting with the younger girl. But there seems to me to be a big moral difference once we start sliding away from the possibility that he actually molested her.

    The problem of course is that we don’t know with enough certainty. We can justifiably believe he did it, we can justifiably believe he didn’t do it. But we can’t pretend our moral judgments of Woody Allen are the same (or even close) whichever of those we choose to believe.

  105. Julia
    February 12, 2014

    Look at Polanski. He admitted the crime, he even spent some time in jail and we’re still not satisfied even when the victim herself wants to be done with all that. We want him burnt at the stake together with his films. What does that say about us?

    Polanski stood in in an American Court of Law, in front of a judge and plead guilty to the forcible rape of a 13-year old (after being told that the judge could back out of any plea agreement). A crime is not a matter that is between private citizen. It’s a violation of the social contract between an individual and society at large and if found guilty, you have to pay for that.

    Roman Polanski has not paid his debt to society. There is no emotional component when you demand him to pay that debt. He owes us – not as emotional beings but as collective of citizens whose law he admitted violating – his punishment. And even if everyone in the world but for him is replaced by unfeeling robots tomorrow, he still owes that robot society that punishment. (Those robots would be so much better at enforcing that…)

    1) It is a fundamental principle of any rational and fair judicial system that a person who has not found guilty of a crime is de facto innocent.

    Are you a judge on the Case Allen? A jury? A prosecutor? An investigating police officer? An expert witness?

    No? Unsurprising since the statue of limitation has run out.

    Well, why are you pretending you’re the Justice System. Unlike you are involved in a case in a professional capacity, you do not have to presume innocence. You are a private person, not the Justice System. And in a case where the justice system cannot even be used to determine legal guilt… And in a world, where so many criminals get off, where rape/sexual abuse convictions are so ridiculously low that the most conservative statistic has 98 percent of all rapists walk free, the presumption of innocence when it comes to a child sexual abuse accusation is pretty awful in the reverse it implies. (Victim blaming a 7 year old.)

    And finally, Woody will never sue anyone for calling a child molester. He would have to prove that he isn’t.

    There are cases where I give people the benefit of a presumed innocence. But in a case where it’s based solely on a decision not to bring a case to trial for the benefit of a kid? No.

  106. unlikely hood
    February 12, 2014

    This is how I wrote about Blanchett DuBois on my little corner of the internet:

    Woody Allen isn’t trusted by every woman in the world. Yet he may have just secured the sixth Oscar for an actress from one of his films after Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, Dianne Weist for Hannah and Her Sisters, Dianne Weist again for Bullets Over Broadway, Mira Sorvino for Mighty Aphrodite, and Penelope Cruz from Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Women can trust him to get them a golden boy; they just can’t trust him with their actual children.

    Too soon to talk about Cate Blanchett’s evolving Oscar chances? No, actually, it might be too late.

    Unless you’ve been living under a Gibraltar-size rock, you’re aware of Dylan Farrow’s luridly detailed recent letter to the New York Times, where she put a new face on 22-year-old accusations of child abuse and general creepiness. You may also know of Woody Allen’s forceful response in the same newspaper. Perhaps your social media feeds have mentioned pedophilia, innocent until proven guilty, marrying your step-daughter, separating the art from the artist, something along these lines?

    You might ask, what does any of this have to do with the wonderful and phenomenally talented Cate Blanchett? In January, she was the undisputed front-runner for this year’s Best Actress Oscar. She won every “pre” award in sight. In any other year, she’d be cruising to a win like Helen Mirren did for The Queen. Slam-dunks don’t get any slam-dunkier.

    Then came Dylan Farrow’s letter. Which actually said, “What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett?” Blanchett’s career-best performance (and that’s saying something) happens to be in Woody Allen’s 2013 film, Blue Jasmine. Now, to read the Oscar commentariat – look at the “expert” names at GoldDerby.com, then go to their thoughtful websites, then also read the comments – you’d think this was just the latest dirty pool to hit the ever-slimier Oscar campaign season.

    But it isn’t. For one thing, this is unprecedented. No self-identified abuse victim has come forward for the first time against a public figure while also naming award shows as causing her pain. Dylan Farrow wrote: “Last week, Woody Allen was nominated for his latest Oscar. But this time, I refuse to fall apart. For so long, Woody Allen’s acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away.” If you’re 100% sure that Woody Allen is 0% guilty, then okay, this may be the dirtiest Oscar pool of our lives.

    But that’s another thing: even Allen said he believes that Dylan Farrow believes what she’s saying. And if we take Dylan and her friend (and New York Times columnist) Nicholas Kristof at their word, the timing had nothing to do with Blanchett, but was instead, in Kristof’s words, “because the Golden Globe lifetime achievement award to Allen ignited a debate about the propriety of the award.” Call me credulous, but I believe Dylan. If her intention was to undermine Allen’s Oscar chances, she would have come forward two years ago, when Midnight in Paris was such a force of nature (and when Allen won Best Original Screenplay). Though Allen is nominated for writing Blue Jasmine, he won’t win; that screenplay award is going to either Spike Jonze for Her or David O. Russell for American Hustle.

    The Best Actress race is another story. Perhaps talking Oscar in the context of child abuse seems crass, and perhaps it is. All five of the Best Actress nominees – Amy Adams, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep, and Blanchett – are millionaires. Whether or not one of them receives an Oscar (only for Adams would it even be a first Oscar) is the quintessence of a First World Problem; Dylan Farrow’s problem isn’t. You might say, well, we don’t know, we weren’t there, let the courts decide. But this isn’t about jail; this is about an utterly optional Oscar. One problem with Oscar sites is that the Oscars are rarely made to seem trivial, but in fact they are, compared to Dylan’s story. If an Oscar voter decides not to give Blanchett a little gold statue this year, that’s hardly the same as taking food out of a poor person’s mouth. The Academy gave an acting honor to Roberto Benigni; it’s not like voters have to defend the award’s integrity. Dylan Farrow said that such an award would cause her pain. If she believes what she’s saying – as Allen admits – you’re balancing a little laurel against an abuse victim’s suffering. Despite the cynicism on the Oscar sites, the truth is that Oscar voters haven’t been asked to make such a choice before.

    Some Oscar voters may vote against Cate Blanchett because they were convinced by Dylan Farrow’s letter not to add anything to the Allen ledger. (Which nominee would benefit – Adams? Dench? I’m not going down that rabbit hole here.) We might pause a moment for irony: Blue Jasmine is obviously a post-recession gloss on Tennessee Williams’ immortal A Streetcar Named Desire, which as we all know is about a woman who returns to a family house where she hopes she can trust people, only to have that trust betrayed all the way up to a shocking rape. Is that what happened to Dylan Farrow? One writer compared the media’s treatment of Dylan’s mother, Mia Farrow, to the “gaslighting” of her character in Rosemary’s Baby; basically telling her that she’s crazy. In Allen’s remake of Streetcar, his blue Jasmine (Blanchett) isn’t raped or gaslit, making her clearly the author of her own tragic crazy. One can only imagine why the writer-director might see an over-entitled, over-40 blonde New Yorker that way.

    This is where Woody Allen’s response letter comes in, and his words and persona carry powers that make him a Goliath compared to Dylan’s puny David. One of my smartest friends said that if Woody is guilty, his Times letter was the best argumentative prose since Descartes. I was struck by how such a relentlessly non-public person knew exactly how to speak to the public; no word-wasting, no jokes, but a sort of colloquial, narrative-inflected prose that couldn’t possibly be more convincing. (The parenthetical coda about these being his final words no matter what felt like the final shot of The Godfather.) I seriously doubt that J.D. Salinger could have come up with that letter if you gave him a year. With it, Allen probably secured a few more years of A-list actors working for him for scale. He’s down, but he’s not out. The question is how far down? Right now, Oscar voters don’t have to decide what happened in an attic between a much-lauded director and his 7-year-old daughter. Right now, they have to decide if the best performance of the year will actually win the Oscar (and it’s not like that always happens).

    By the way, there’s a certain objectionable smugness on some right-wing outlets regarding this story that I don’t think we’d see if the accused director was Michael Bay. Let’s face it, many of these “journalists” don’t really like Woody Allen-type movies anyway. It’s not like they’re rushing to Whit Stillman’s or Nicole Holofcener’s films, even just to prove a point. On the other hand, perhaps they do have a point, because none of this circus – not one iota – would be the same if the accused were recent Best Director winners Tom Hooper or Michel Hanavicius, i.e. someone we don’t know. In such a case, we’d almost certainly identify with the victim and probably be ready to throw one of his actresses under the bus. But Woody Allen is Woody Allen, and his “legendary” persona makes an incalculable difference.

    Though it’s a close call, I expect Blanchett DuBois will win. Hollywood has been known to close ranks before, and for similar reasons. One could argue that any time a child cries in a film, the director has perpetuated some kind of abuse. (For this reason, I fully expect that within my lifetime, children characters in films will only be played by CG creations a la Gollum.) If you live long enough in L.A. and see a certain amount of near-rape scenes and drunk driving and general scumbaggery, you learn to elevate the work above all and shut out the rest. (Or Robert Downey Jr. wouldn’t be America’s #1 star.) Almost everyone who has worked in the industry for 20 years has worked for someone who did something monstrous. In three weeks, Daniel Day-Lewis will be handing the Best Actress Oscar to someone. Anyone want to take away his Oscar for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln? Allen stands accused of ruining one child’s life – no more. As producer, Spielberg ruined two kids’ lives when he killed them, and another actor, on the set of The Twilight Zone. (If that seems unfair to compare with Allen, recall that these were both one-time horrors.) Neither Spielberg nor director John Landis saw the inside of a prison cell, unlike notorious statutory rapist Roman Polanski. The director of the two highest-earning films ever, James Cameron, is infamous for using actresses the way some people use teabags; rumor has it that both Kate Winslet and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio were nearly drowned in two different films of his. (Winslet cites that as the reason she won’t work for him again; Mastrantonio was apparently blacklisted for ten years.) You may have heard of Mel Gibson (not to mention a few other creeps and borderline criminals). So let’s say Cate Blanchett loses all the voters who want to express solidarity with Dylan, but still gets votes from everyone who’s worked with, or for, Allen, Spielberg, Landis, Polanski, Cameron, and Gibson. Anyone want to bet against her?

    How would this be different if Dylan Farrow had followed in her parents’ footsteps and become a movie star? Instead, Oscar voters have a stark choice to make: to honor the stated wishes of a self-identified abuse victim who they don’t know, or to rally to someone they see as one of their own even though they may not have personally met her. It’s an oddly zero-sum game. Either Dylan or Cate, but not both, will find she can rely upon the kindness of strangers.

    maptothefuture(dot)com

  107. RobertPPeters
    February 13, 2014

    In response to Julia:

    “Are you a judge on the Case Allen? A jury? A prosecutor? An investigating police officer? An expert witness? No? Unsurprising since the statue of limitation has run out.”

    I am just a citizen with an interest in keeping up a rational and fair judicial system.

    “Well, why are you pretending you’re the Justice System.”

    I don’t.

    “Unlike you are involved in a case in a professional capacity, you do not have to presume innocence.”

    Not true. If I call you a criminal you can sue me for slander.

    “You are a private person, not the Justice System. And in a case where the justice system cannot even be used to determine legal guilt…”

    What other system do you propose to “determine legal guilt”?

    “And in a world, where so many criminals get off, where rape/sexual abuse convictions are so ridiculously low that the most conservative statistic has 98 percent of all rapists walk free, the presumption of innocence when it comes to a child sexual abuse accusation is pretty awful in the reverse it implies. (Victim blaming a 7 year old.)”

    I live in Germany. We had a case here last year where a man was in prison for several years for sexually violating his daughter. Everyone believed the daughter although there was zero evidence. Then the daughter stepped forward and committed that she lied. The man was innocent. Is that the rule? I don’t know. Is it true that many rapists and molesters are free? I don’t know. Should we give In dubio pro reo or suspend it for special cases? Absolutely not unless you want innocent people sentenced.

    “And finally, Woody will never sue anyone for calling a child molester. He would have to prove that he isn’t.”

    Not true. It is the other way round. If I call you a thief and you sue me I have to prove that you are a thief.”

    “There are cases where I give people the benefit of a presumed innocence. But in a case where it’s based solely on a decision not to bring a case to trial for the benefit of a kid? No.”

    I am pretty glad that you don’t decide about our judicial system. The benefit of a doubt is a general principle, a pillar of any fair judicial system.

  108. julian the emperor
    February 13, 2014

    Unlikelyhood/

    Let me just quote Tom Shone in The Guardian:

    “A good rule when trying to anticipate potential upsets – and hardened Oscar-watchers live for the upsets – is what I call the “morning after” rule. If you’re trying to assess whether a potential upset will take place, imagine how it would feel the morning after. How’s the hangover?
    (…)
    Imagine that the academy decides to distance itself from Woody Allen, and how that would feel the morning after – not just the public censure of Allen, but the apparent punishment of Blanchett for the alleged crimes of someone else, and the question mark that would linger over an Adams win. No way is the academy getting embroiled in that.
    Blanchett is safe, I think.”

  109. JudiB
    February 13, 2014

    Why aren’t Mia, Dylan & Ronan fair game for questioning their honesty & integrity or sanity? I for one as do many just don’t jump to the conclusion that Woody raped Dylan just because “where there’s smoke there’s fire” (Soon Yi). I have no qualms whatsoever in not getting why Mia went bat shit crazy when she discovered what was going on here. However, that does not mean that Woody raped Dylan. This analysis is the best article that I could find on the entire situation written in a logical & cohesive manner:http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/27/the-woody-allen-allegations-not-so-fast.html

  110. lost in time
    February 13, 2014

    You did give everyone something to think about and not take sides but, the longer we let child abusers feel above the law and bigger than life-the more they will do horrible things to unsuspecting innocents. You are correct Woody is both brilliant and terribly disturbed but, it is the way he effects others that we should consider. Stop enjoying his sick reality and victimization of others.

  111. RobertPPeters
    February 14, 2014

    In response to lost in time:

    If you have any evidence that Woody Allen is a child abuser, did horrible things to unsuspecting innocents, is terribly disturbed and victimizes others please share it with us. You have none? Thought so.

  112. March 30, 2014

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