Sunday, May 19, 2024

HBO Doc About Woody Allen & Mia Farrow Ignores Mia’s 3 Dead Kids, Her Child Molester Brother, Other Family Tragedies


Three of the 11 children Mia Farrow adopted over time have died young. One committed suicide. (Actually, two.)

Mia’s brother, John Charles Villers-Farrow, was sentenced in 2013 to 25 years for child molestation in Maryland. He had over 20 child charges of child abuse against him, but went to jail on just two. Taking an Alford plea, he was required to serve 10 years. He was released a year ago, after serving just seven years.

When Mia Farrow married Frank Sinatra, how old was she? She was 21. Frank was 50. That short marriage was followed by one to composer and conductor Andre Previn. She was 25. He was 41. And married to singer songwriter Dory Previn, who wrote a famous song about Mia breaking up her marriage.

None of these things is mentioned even briefly in the HBO doc series coming Sunday called “Allen v. Farrow” in which Mia is portrayed as a saint, and Woody Allen as Satan. Disingenuous to a fault, “Allen vs. Farrow” is not a documentary. It’s an Op Ed piece, and a toast to Mia, who gives the performance of her life, worthy of an Oscar. (The marriages are recounted as if they were just happy adventures.)

Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick made this series, and it’s a disappointment that they’ve been sucked into Farrow’s now almost 30 year vendetta against Woody Allen. But what you get out of it, surprisingly, is how much Mia hates Soon Yi, the girl she adopted who took up with Woody at age 18 and is still with him three decades later. Mia’s scorched Earth approach to Soon Yi should be the takeaway here. Soon Yi and Woody have been together since 1992. They have raised two daughters, now in college. And yet Mia will do anything she can to destroy Soon Yi. Mia Farrow is the most scorned lover in history. And don’t you forget it.

I’m not so clear how she really feels about adopted daughter Dylan. For years Dylan was too young to be weaponized by Mia in this war. But now Mia’s got son Ronan Farrow placed well in the media as her assassin. She’s been able to trot out Dylan, a sensitive and bright young woman who’s listened to three decades of brain washing and alternative facts.

If you go back to 1992, it would have been hard to imagine that Woody and Soon Yi would last and raise a family. But that’s what happened. Most child molesters we’ve heard about have dozens of victims. In Woody’s case, there was simply one allegation, and it came after his affair with Soon Yi was revealed, and his “family” structure was coming apart. There has never ever been a suggestion of any other impropriety. The story of Dylan’s abuse was Mia’s one last act of revenge, to try and destroy their lives. It hasn’t worked.

The big deal of this series is that Dylan talks. We meet her, and she’s lovely. She has no idea if what she’s saying is true, she just believes it. But the series has no counterbalance. It’s just a given to her that Woody molested her at age 7, that Mia filmed her afterward appearing to describe what happened, and everything Mia has said since then is true. If Dylan were to look at this series with an objective eye, she might see the holes in the story. There is no “evidence” of wrongdoing. It’s just anecdotal smears from Mia’s friends– “Woody was too close to Dylan.” “He was obsessed.” What utter hogwash. The reality is he was an older father, and he loved his kids. Period.

Luckily, Mia was quite the little filmmaker back then. “Allen vs. Farrow” is full of home movies made by…her!  Ziering and Dick make it seem like there was some omniscient presence filming Woody with the kids. But it was Mia! She was right there! She saw everything that was going on. And no matter how the home movies have been edited to make Woody look sinister, he’s not. He’s as attentive to little Ronan (then called Satchel, not explained in the series how Mia changed the kids’ names) as he is to Dylan (whom she briefly re-named Eliza, also not discussed).

The perfect Farrow family is a continuing theme throughout the four episodes. But that’s been scotched in real life by Moses, who was older than both kids when all this went down. At first Moses took Mia’s side. But then as time unfolded, he came to Woody’s side. You can read his 2018 essay here. But Moses’s adult evaluation of his family, and of the whole scandal, is just dismissed by Mia, Ronan, and Dylan. It doesn’t fit in with their modus operandi, their raison d’etre.

UPDATED Ziering and Dick also ignore the deaths of three of Mia’s adopted children: Lark, Tam, and Thaddeus, who shot himself to death in 2016. Tam, Mia claimed, died from heart failure at age 19 in 2000. But Moses, in his essay, says it was suicide. Lark died in 2008 from pneumonia after struggling with AIDs and drug addiction.

And what about Mia’s siblings? In addition to jailbird sexual fiend John, there’s Patrick. He committed suicide in 2009, shooting himself in his New England art galley.

Moses Farrow concluded his essay — also omitted from the series — with a note to Mia:

“I’m guessing your next step will be to launch a campaign to discredit me for speaking out. I know it comes with the territory. And it’s a burden I am willing to bear. But, after all this time, enough is enough. You and I both know the truth. And it’s time for this retribution to end.”

Before you buy into “Allen vs. Farrow” consider the sources, do the research. And take this mini series as a fictional account by a clever actress giving the performance of her life.

Here is Dory Previn’s 1969 song, “Beware of Young Girls,” written about Mia breaking up her marriage to Andre Previn.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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