Farrow’s accusations have put film-lovers and comedians and the actors who perform in his movies in a classic moral dilemma: They want to be able to love Woody Allen’s movies while despising the man. Since Allen’s marriage to Soon-Yi Previn, this has always been a problem for his fans, although one that they seemingly got over. Nobody except Dylan Farrow and Woody Allen knows what happened in that attic, and no one else ever will. But Farrow’s accusations have the sting of vividness. They are not vague. They are very specific, and pointed. They’re the kind of accusations that make you reevaluate an artist’s entire body of work, especially a body of work as personal as Allen’s.
So what do we find if we go looking for evidence of sexual crimes in Allen’s work?
In Manhattan, how are we supposed to read “a few disgusting little moments that I regret” when Isaac is dating a girl still in high school? Manhattan is a film whose dark sexual secret, though technically legal, is hiding in plain sight. In his next movie, Stardust Memories (1980), Allen returned to the theme, making it even clearer.