lifestyle

The problem with seeing Woody Allen's latest movie.

Woody Allen has a film out.

Annie Hall.

Vicky Christina Barcelona.

Hannah And Her Sisters.

Blue Jasmine.

All masterpieces of movie-making. All made by a man who only this past weekend said the following about his wife:

“I’m 35 years older, and somehow, through no fault of mine or hers, the dynamic worked.

“I was paternal. She responded to someone paternal. I liked her youth and energy. She deferred to me, and I was happy to give her an enormous amount of decision making just as a gift and let her take charge of so many things. She flourished.”

“Paternal” was an unfortunate word to use. Soon-Yi Previn is not only 35 years Allen’s junior, but before she was his wife, she was his step-daughter. And he likes that she “defers” to him.

Woody Allen Paternal relationship
Woody Allen and Soon-Yi make their debut together. Image: Getty.

Woody Allen had been in a relationship with actress Mia Farrow for 12 years when their relationship imploded with a spew of accusation and scandal. Farrow says she discovered that Allen was sleeping with her daughter, Soon Yi, when she found the naked photos that he had taken of her. As well as Farrow’s eleven adopted children, the iconic New York couple had three children together. As their family fell apart, Farrow accused Allen of molesting their daughter Dylan, then aged 7. It’s a claim that Allen has vehemently denied and that Farrow and Dylan have insisted is the truth.

ADVERTISEMENT

“That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up,” Dylan wrote in an open letter in 2014. “I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls.”

Given that messy history, “paternal” might be the word you WOULDN’T use when discussing how you feel about your young wife, the one who was once your step-daughter, and who defers to you.

Woody Allen and Mia Farrow in 1999. Image: Getty.

Woody Allen, now aged 79 and still worshiped by Hollywood as some kind of perversely brilliant outsider genius, either doesn’t care at all about us cementing our worst prejudices, or he has reached an age when he thinks he can be truly honest about who he is and screw anyone who doesn’t approve.

But does this mean you will not go to see Irrational Man, his new movie, even though that adorable Emma Stone is in it?

Allen’s films portray women who are often young, beautiful and desirous of an older man. But the movies themselves are often brilliant, and terrible human beings have created wonderful art throughout history. Our contemporary, celebrity-saturated times are no exception.

Here is the trailer for Irrational Man. (Post continues after video)

The most obvious comparison to Allen is Roman Polanski, the art-house movie director darling who has lived in exile from the United States since he was accused of the statutory rape a 13-year-old girl in Jack Nicholson’s hot tub in 1977.

ADVERTISEMENT

Forty-eight  years of wandering the world hasn’t lessened Polanski’s pull for the critics and film buffs who flock to his side, or the actors who line up to work with him, just as they do for Allen.

They separate the man and the art. They preach, as Cate Blanchett did after her Oscar-winning role in Blue Jasmine, that these are private matters.

But when you pay money to see a Polanski or an Allen movie, aren’t you implicitly approving of them, choosing to reward them for the lives they’ve lived, for the art they’ve made as a result of their privilege and freedom?

It’s complicated, because where is your line drawn?

Do you turn off the radio when a Chris Brown song comes on?

chris brown and rihanna put it up
Chris Brown was charged for assaulting Rihanna in 2009. Image: Getty.

Do you sacrifice watching Empire since Terrence Howard has been charged with six completely separate charges of beating women?

Can you sit through Braveheart since Mel Gibson was outed, not only as a horrendous anti-semite, but the kind of man who would say to the mother of his children, “I hope you get raped by a pack of n***ers,” during an ugly fight.

Perhaps Woody Allen should stop giving interviews that force us to rub up against his objectionable world view when it comes to women, sexual politics and age.

Because these new quotes from him about his marriage are impossible to view with innocence, knowing that he “started the relationship” with a teenage Soon Yi when he was with her mother, and they were all part of one big family.

Woody Allen paternal relationship
Woody Allen and Soon-Yi. Image: Getty.

Still, it was just a fling.

“I started the relationship with her and I thought it would just be a fling, it wouldn’t be serious.

“But it had a life of its own. And I never thought it would be anything more. Then we started going together, then we started living together, and we were enjoying it. And the age difference didn’t seem to matter. It seemed to work in our favour, actually.”

“She enjoyed being introduced to many, many things that I knew from experience, and I enjoyed showing her those things.”

Stop talking, Woody.

But for those of us passive-aggressively sitting on the fence, there is some excellent news to help us up on our moral-high ground.

Irrational Man is getting terrible reviews.

You’re really doing yourself a favour if you don’t go and see it.

Want more? Try:

Woody Allen just described his relationship with his wife as “paternal.”

Woody Allen speaks out, denies child sex abuse allegations.

Will you see this new Woody Allen film?

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???