Woody Allen is a gifted writer and filmmaker with a unique style and voice who has, throughout decades, held up the mirror to our own shortcomings and pretensions. He is also an alleged child molester.
Whether or not you believe Dylan Farrow — Allen’s adopted daughter at the time with his live-in partner, Mia Farrow — the issue was supposedly settled in 1992. However, events surrounding the breakup of Mia Farrow and Allen did give one pause when it was revealed that Allen was sexually involved with her adopted adult daughter Soon-Yi Previn.
“The heart wants what it wants,” Allen rationalized at a press conference at the time. And at the time, it looked as if young Dylan may have colluded with her angry mother and created the molestation angle as payback.
In time, everything blew over until November of last year, when the floodgates of sexual harassment and abuse were blown open by journalists, first with Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, followed by a cavalcade of celebrities with multiple and credible allegations against each of them. One article in New Yorker magazine, coincidentally written by Dylan’s brother Ronan Farrow, exposed Weinstein’s vast “machine” of protectors.
Ironically, Ronan, who believes his sister’s story, urged her not to make any more public announcements.
“ ‘Initially, I begged my sister not to go public again and to avoid speaking to reporters about it,’ he said, in a story appearing in the Mercury News (Nov. 7, 2017).
“As an attorney with a degree from Yale Law School, Farrow also said he had gone through the evidence and found his sister’s claims to be ‘credible.’ ”
Allen was never charged with a crime.
However, that was then and this is now, and now woman are no longer being ignored. A former employee of Michael Douglas now claims the actor has a history of sexual harassment and abuse.
Dylan Farrow recently appeared in a television interview with CBS This Morning host Gayle King. It is difficult to watch the interview and not be moved by her story, which hasn’t changed, by the way. What has changed are the number of stars who are not only now distancing themselves from Allen, but the many more who will not work with him in the future. Greta Gerwig, Mira Sorvino and Natalie Portman are just a few of those who have recently voiced regret.
I love much of Allen’s work. From Manhattan to Paris at Midnight, Allen’s characters demonstrate the many comic, tragic and contradictory sides of our lives.
Will I continue to watch Allen’s films?
While I won’t buy a theater ticket, I’ll probably watch them on cable.
Will I look at his work differently?
It would be hard not to, especially Manhattan, where Allen’s 42-year-old character has an active sexual relationship with Mariel Hemingway’s 17-year-old nymph.
Celebrities, big celebrities, have always been attached to attention, scandal, or both. And because of their celebrity, many have evaded the price of consequences that the rest of us would surely have paid.
There’s a line from the Peter O’Toole comedy, My Favorite Year, where the handsome, witty, dashing-as-hell actor, Alan Swann – a thinly veiled version of Errol Flynn – is always getting into and out of trouble with women, but not always. At a quiet dinner with a Brooklyn family, Swann is asked for the truth behind one of his many alleged conquests. His response is as philosophical as it is accurate.
“I’m blamed for a lot of things I had absolutely nothing to do with. On the other hand, because of who I am, I get away with murder in other areas. I suppose it all balances out in the end.”
As to the fate of director Woody Allen — well, that was then, and this is now and now, it seems for Allen, Time’s Up.