Capturing the Friedmans

Saw Capturing the Friedmans this past weekend.

This is not the feel-good movie of the summer. This is a very hard movie to watch, although, like a car wreck, you can’t help yourself: a documentary about a family in which the father and one of the three sons are accused of molesting children that attended computer classes run by the father. I felt like I needed a bath afterwards.

The documentarians scrupulously present everyone’s side of the story, and perhaps inevitably, it winds up being a very Rashōmon-like mess. At the end, we really don’t know who to believe. We can triangulate on the truth to a certain point, but much is unclear. What is perhaps most surprising is the Friedman family’s penchant for self-documentary–they were avid home-movie makers, and much of their footage is incorporated into the documentary. But there’s no smoking gun to be found there.

Gwen and I joked about what would make the ideal double-feature companion movie to it. I suggested Auto Focus; she parried with Daddy Day Care.

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