Capturing the Friedmans

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 46
  2. Negative: 6 out of 46

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User Reviews

  1. Feb 19, 2011
    2
    I felt that the directer had a clear agenda. After looking into the case - he left out numerous important facts that would have made the world of difference. He apparantly only interviewed a small number of victims and left out and/or minimized facts that would have contradicted an apparant agenda. If it was done on purpose or because of lack of research - shame on him
  2. KristenT.
    Jan 30, 2004
    0
    "... when traumatic events are of human design, those who bear witness are caught in the conflict between victim & perpetrator. It is morally impossible to remain neutral in this conflict. The bystander is forced to take sides. It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear "... when traumatic events are of human design, those who bear witness are caught in the conflict between victim & perpetrator. It is morally impossible to remain neutral in this conflict. The bystander is forced to take sides. It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of pain. The victim demands action, engagement and remembering." --from "Trauma and Recovery" by Judith Herman, MD Expand
  3. NB
    Nov 18, 2003
    3
    The truth about this movie is at : http://members.aol.com/friedmansmovie/ "CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS" Documentary or Whitewash? Have you seen Andrew Jarecki's award-winning film? Did it leave you with the impression that Jesse Friedman and maybe his father, Arnold, were victims of a witch hunt conducted by an inept and overzealous investigation team? That conclusion is no accident. The truth about this movie is at : http://members.aol.com/friedmansmovie/ "CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS" Documentary or Whitewash? Have you seen Andrew Jarecki's award-winning film? Did it leave you with the impression that Jesse Friedman and maybe his father, Arnold, were victims of a witch hunt conducted by an inept and overzealous investigation team? That conclusion is no accident. Jarecki omitted incriminating evidence that might have made you think differently about Jesse and Arnold. Consider this information, and decide for yourself if this well-reviewed "documentary" can be trusted. 1. What Arnold and Jesse admitted under oath: The film shows--but minimizes the fact- - that Arnold and Jesse admitted to molesting 13 boys, ages 7-11. Arnold pled to 8 counts of sodomy, 28 counts of first-degree sexual abuse, and also admitted to ramming a child's head into a wall in front of other children. Jesse pled to 17 counts of sodomy, 4 counts of first degree sexual abuse. 2. Arnold had an established history as a child molester: The film acknowledges that Arnold was an admitted pedophile. He admitted to abusing his own brother when the brother was 8. Although initially admitting to abusing only one boy, Arnold admitted in a therapy session with Elaine to abusing (though not sodomizing) two boys, one of whom was the child of his good friend. He went to therapy out of fear that he would molest his own children. 3. Was no evidence found in the house beyond one stack of porn? (1) Although Jarecki shows the house looking porn free and a voice-over says porn was only found in the office, the prosecutor says in the movie that child pornography was found all over the house. (2) In 1986, Arnold Friedman mail-ordered "Boy Love," a magazine featuring graphic pictures of men having sex with children, which led to a sting operation. Jarecki doesn't say that other child- porn magazines were found on classroom shelves; the boys said Arnold used them to initiate discussions of sex. (3) Jarecki fails to mention that parents were not allowed into the classroom or that nine obscene computer games were found in Friedman"s classroom such as "Dirty Movie" ("animation of woman who undresses, spreads her legs and then masturbates/ urinates"), and "Seasons Greeting" ("animation of Mickey Mouse, dressed in a Santa suit, appears with erection and ejaculates"). An early newspaper report said "Talking Sam", in which a male figure exposes his genitals, was used to demonstrate and initiate touching games with the boys. Boys were allowed to take these computer disks to their homes, where a few were found by police. (4) Numerous children, ages 7-12, disclosed similar details about sexual "games" such as leap-frog and Simon says. (5) Jarecki didn't mention that child-sized dildos were found in a cabinet just outside the classroom. 4. What about the witness who was left out of the film? Jesse's friend, Ross Goldstein, witnessed and admitted to participating in the crimes, could identify the victims, and would have testified in court. He pled guilty to 3 counts of first-degree sodomy. Both he and Jesse pled to one count of using a child in a sexual performance (pornography). 5. Why didn't the boys tell anyone? Children "tell" about abuse indirectly. In 1989 some wet their beds, took baseball bats to bed, could not sleep. The children reported Arnold threatened to burn down their houses, kill parents, if they told. 6. Why was there no physical evidence? Jarecki fails to mention that the Friedmans pled guilty so none was sought. Physical evidence is typically rare in such cases. Many assume that child sexual abuse must leave gaping tears and telltale scars, but due to the nature of children's bodies, even when there are physical signs, most disappear in a few days. 7. Can Jesse's retraction of his father's abuse of him be believed? Jesse said in a 1989 interview that he was "halfway between loving and hating" his father. He said Arnold fondled and later sodomized him. Jesse started seeing a psychiatrist at the age of 10; he was diagnosed manic depressive. He started using drugs at 16 and was soon stoned on a daily basis; his weight ballooned; he had no friends. Court psychiatric testimony described Jesse's joy when his father turned from Jesse to children in the class. When interviewed on the Geraldo Rivera Show, Jesse sobbed while describing sexual abuse by his father and confessed to abusing three children. He said, "I fondled [the children]...I was forced to, to pose in hundreds of photos for my father in all sorts of sexual positions with the kids..." He now claims that his story and his tears were "fictionalized to win leniency". However, he had already been sentenced. So which is the truth -- his admission or his recent retraction? 8. What else do we know about the Friedmans? They often appear confused. Sometimes they remember that "it" happened, sometimes not. Arnold's brother and David hit their heads, saying maybe someday they'll remember something, but they don't, now. Jesse describes them as sweeping things under the rug. When Elaine saw one of Arnold's child porn magazines she didn't register what it was until she looked again. The film shows her being mistreated by her sons for questioning Arnold's innocence. Victoria News describes "one astonishing sequence [of the film], on the morning of one of the sons' sentencing, the boys decide to shoot footage while harassing the parents of some of the alleged victims." 9. What else do we know about Arnold? As a child, Arnold witnessed his mother having sex with various men. Elaine, in a 1989 article, said that her normally emotionless husband was almost in tears when police took his child porn photos. Arnold's motion from prison to have them returned (as well as the names and numbers of numerous victims) was denied. In the film, Jesse's attorney describes Arnold in a prison visit asking to move to another table because he is excited by a 4 or 5 year old boy bouncing on his father's lap nearby. ____________________________ 1. Bessent, A.E. (1989, May 28). The secret life of Arnold Friedman. Newsday. LI., NY http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-friedman052889,0,1128093.story?coll=ny-li-span-headlines Posted also among many other useful articles at http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/arnoldandjessefriedman 2. Vitello, P., Commentary: Interesting, not accurate. (2003, July 27) Newsday, LI . NY http://www.newsday.com/news/printedition/ny-livit273389114jul27,0,4000086.column?coll=ny-news-print Expand
  4. Smenkharon
    Jan 28, 2004
    1
    This movie is incredibly overrated! The director did an awful job, bringing absolutely nothing new or interesting to the documentary format. On top of that the facts in this movie are completely blurred so that gullible audiences would think they were watching something worthwhile. There was no good reason to make a movie about two confessed pedophiles. They both confessed, period! The This movie is incredibly overrated! The director did an awful job, bringing absolutely nothing new or interesting to the documentary format. On top of that the facts in this movie are completely blurred so that gullible audiences would think they were watching something worthwhile. There was no good reason to make a movie about two confessed pedophiles. They both confessed, period! The director should be ashamed of himself for making this and the people who liked it should watch A+E to see how to make a focused, unbiased portrait of criminals like these. The subjects of this documentary are sick people and the director/producer is sick as well for giving these two the attention they crave. See the comments by N B as well. Expand

Awards & Rankings

Metascore
90

Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Isn't like the classic Japanese drama "Rashomon," which suggested that one person's perspective of an event gave him a different truth from the person standing elsewhere.
  2. 80
    Andrew Jarecki could have done more to lay out the marriage of sexual and religious and social hysteria that made cases like this possible. But he deserves credit for having the guts to say, in this case and in so many like it, who suffered the most.
  3. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    90
    There's a kind of rawness on the screen that most movies never approach.