Woody Allen has a new movie out –Magic in the Moonlight. This is not a review of the film, that is coming soon. Instead, I wanted to address some of the serious charges that were made about Mr. Allen. -MLJ
The news about the charge of child molestation is distressing.I’ll admit I had heard of the unusual circumstances surrounding his marriage. His dysfunctional family relations and the very public breakup with Mia Farrow were all public knowledge. But this is different. These new allegations were not the same. To be fair to Allen, he denies the charge and credits the allegations to the spiteful and vengeful nature of his ex, Mia Farrow.
My thinking is this. On the one hand, the morality of Hollywood actors and artists generally do not correlate with the rest of America. They tend to live more like Old World Europe combined with the Good ‘Ol Boy Mentality reminiscent of the bygone era of Big Studio bosses. There is plenty of arrogance, easy money, amorality and occasionally unethical behavior found in New Hollywood. But not quite like this
In Woody Allen’s case, avant garde Upper East Side is mixed with an amoral (or nonexistent) value system. His personality bordering between narcissism and nihilism was no surprise. But the child molestation charge was. It is not to be dismissed or put aside lightly. Not in the wake of the Joe Paterno scandal. At times, power can indeed turn a blind eye to corruption and evil. Yet he was never convicted of a crime. And unlike Michael Jackson, he was never charged nor tried for the alleged crime. That does not mean he is innocent.
The point is this. His work should stand apart. So many of the greats of Hollywood were really not nice men-not warm and fuzzy people. They were hard working, masters of their craft with many admirable traits which seldom included being loving husbands and fathers (some exceptions, of course.)
It has to be acknowledged at this point that Woody Allen is a genius. You cannot fault actors for wanting to work with him. Many may not have known or accepted this charge of child molestation. And in the end, he must answer to a higher authority. We have not been called to judge him Yet in the court of public opinion, we have done just that The verdict is in. Allen is seen at best as a weird guy and at worst, a monster of sorts disguised as a comical and harmless schlep. In the realm of art and in the world of film criticism, his work still stands alone. His body of work matters to film critics and movie buffs. The play’s the thing in the artists world view.
In the real world, we must make our own decisions about this man. He’s not the first talented Hollywood director with this charge leveled against him. In the case of Roman Polanski, the difference was that Polanski was convicted and yet his accuser eventually forgave him. In Allen’s case, the reverse is true. Although there was evidence to proceed, Allen was never charged nor convicted of a crime .More importantly, his accuser, his adopted daughter, did NOT forgive him of the crime-after all these years. There lies the problem. The pain is still real for her many years later. That is the truth and a sad reality-the pain is real and doesn’t fade away.