Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Woody Allen Dilemma

(Read my update here. But first read this post.)

I've been a Woody Allen fan for years. I quote Hannah and Her Sisters. Hell, when I was in my indie movie making days, I plagiarized the scene where Michael Caine follows Barbara Hershey around a New York City block. I bought the screenplays. There's the classic Woody favorites like Annie Hall. But I've gone beyond the oldies. I love Husbands and Wives. Manhattan Murder Mystery. I've seen Crimes and Misdemeanors over 20 times.

(Alan Alda as the callous egomaniac, Lester, trying to explain the definition of "funny" in Crimes and Misdemeanors.)

But Woody's affair and marriage to his daughter/not daughter Soon-Yi Previn left me feeling jilted. I knew this man was crazy--look at his work. But to be so morally compromised is a different story.

So after reading Laura Miller's essay today in Salon "When Bad People Write Great Books" I wondered how I'd approach Woody's new movie, "Midnight in Paris." How can I not see this movie people? Isn't there a point where you say about an artist that you respect and love--as an ARTIST--I love your work, but you're a vile, despicable, twisted human being?

Miller writes:
Learning the truth is disillusioning at first, but enlightening in the end. Part of the sadly underrated process of growing up is realizing that people, the world and life are no less beautiful and amazing for being imperfect.
Isn't this the truth though? Somewhere, I can draw the line between Woody and Roman Polanski. Raping and drugging an underaged girl ain't ever going to fly with me. Like, ever. Right? But with Woody and Soon-Yi, they've been married for some time. Have two children. Is it possible that he could have looked towards another person besides his own family for love,  yes. Is it possible that they were actually supposed to be connected? As in fate? I don't know. Even my own reasoning sounds like a load of crap.

And then I think back to what Miller wrote. Artists aren't perfect. And though Woody Allen might be void of any moral code, his work inspires me.

Call me a wuss, and please forgive me Mia Farrow, but I'm going to see Midnight in Paris.

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