By Megan Bianco
Almost two years ago, I wrote an article explaining why Woody Allen was my favorite filmmaker and how I was going to continue “separating the art from the artist” as a professional movie reviewer.
The reason for this, of course, was that Allen’s stepdaughter Dylan Farrow came forward in February 2014 to accuse him of child molestation. Well, the last three months have made me realize how wrong it is to separate art from artist. I had been writing about how important it is that victims of Hollywood’s powerful men are now sharing their experiences, while completely ignoring a four-year-old revelation. And for what? Five films that are on my list of favorites made before she was even born.
When Dylan’s original letter was published, I broke down over there being something even worse than Allen’s arguably unethical relationship with adopted stepdaughter Soon-yi Previn. On top of the complete disillusionment I felt from his response to the letter, I realized my own complete naivety. I ignored everything to do with his career for about six months, then slowly returned to watching Annie Hall (1977)—my favorite film—Love and Death (1975)—my favorite comedy—Manhattan (1979) and others from the 1970s and 80s.
But as I reviewed his new films, a concern lingered in the back of my mind. I think it was probably because every person working with him is aware of Dylan’s allegations. So it was easy for me to completely ignore his current feature Wonder Wheel. And I haven’t exactly been praising him since this all this broke out. I gave rather harsh reviews to Magic in the Moonlight (2014) and Irrational Man (2015), and a lukewarm one to Café Society (2016). I made it through only three episodes of “Crisis in Six Scenes” (2016) because of how tedious it was and didn’t bother to write about it.
Even before Dylan came forward, the general consensus had already been that Allen was past his prime and lucky to get a decent hit out of his steady, yearly output. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), Midnight in Paris (2011) and Blue Jasmine (2013) are part of a sea of duds. Another thing I think that is important to note is Dylan’s feelings about people still viewing the accused’s work. Shelley Duvall and Tippi Hedren have been open about how much hell they went through with directors Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock, but are still proud of The Shining (1980) and The Birds (1963) achieving legendary status.
Many of the female celebrities coming forward about the abuse they suffered aren’t disowning their films, but want you to know it’s really tough working in entertainment as a woman. But Dylan Farrow has made it very clear she wishes stars would stop collaborating with Allen and viewers stop going to his movies.
I think that makes a big difference. It’s not worth it, whether the movie is good or bad. I’m done reviewing his future films.
Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based movie reviewer and content writer with a degree from California State University Northridge.
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