I had heard a lot about this movie when it first came out and always meant to watch it. However, knowing the subject matter would be heavy and disturbing, I had never gotten around to it. When it came on satellite we tuned in – and climbed aboard a roller coaster.
The film propels you through the story without a firm foothold on the outcome – is he a monster? are they all? were they railroaded by the system? At various points you believe all those things and none of them. And at the end you are still left to wonder because this film does exactly what a documentary should do; it gives you all of the facts, but none of the answers. Those conclusions you must draw on your own.
I give it a rare 5 of 5.
“Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, and with over $3 million at the box office to date, Capturing The Friedmans is nothing short of the most riveting, provocative, and hotly debated films of the year. Despite their predilection for hamming it up in front of home-movie cameras, the Friedmans were a normal middle-class family living in the affluent New York suburb of Great Neck. One Thanksgiving, as the family gathers at home for a quiet holiday dinner, their front door explodes, splintered by a police battering ram. Officers rush into the house, accusing Arnold Friedman and his youngest son Jesse of hundreds of shocking crimes. The film follows their story from the public’s perspective and through unique real footage of the family in crisis, shot inside the Friedman house. As the police investigate, and the community reacts, the fabric of the family begins to disintegrate, revealing provocative questions about justice, family, and -ultimately – truth.”
Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 97%; Audience 86%