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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slanted doco that left a lot of the story untold
It is however, still compelling viewing. Allegations of sexual abuse are the hardest to either prove or disapprove. A court of law was satisfied that some of the Freidman clan were guilty of the charges laid against them. It is an often stated opinion that law is about legal process and not justice. We assume the documentary maker had information we may not have been...
Published on 29 July 2012 by "Belgo Geordie"

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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strangely unpleasant
This strange documentary about a family torn apart by allegations of child abuse is a mixture of interviews and bizarrely honest home movies which gives the viewer an unsettling, voyeauristic thrill. The ambiguity reviewers of this film have spoken of wasn't that apparent to me - it seemed pretty clear that he'd been caught with kiddie porn and then hounded with...
Published on 23 Feb 2006 by Neb


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slanted doco that left a lot of the story untold, 29 July 2012
It is however, still compelling viewing. Allegations of sexual abuse are the hardest to either prove or disapprove. A court of law was satisfied that some of the Freidman clan were guilty of the charges laid against them. It is an often stated opinion that law is about legal process and not justice. We assume the documentary maker had information we may not have been able to access through the public domain, such as interviews with key people involved. That is where this documentary fell over for me. I don't know whether the Friedman's were guilty of the crimes they were charged with. That they were eccentric was obvious in the video footage, interviews and there dysfunction family life opened to public gaze. But a few issues stuck in my craw. Their love of pornography and I think child pornography was amongst their seized processions. That in itself is not a victimless crime. And that one of the protagonists said what happened did happen. I think had the documentary maker stuck to their original aim, to let the story tell itself-from all sides. Then we as watchers could have reached our own conclusion. At the end of this, I felt duped by the film maker. Enough to go on line and read through the available material on the case. My conclusion differs from the doco. These (the Friedman's accused) do not appear to be innocent victims. People who are sexually abused are still all too readily not believed. False accusations although they do occur are not as common as is sometimes stated. But it has over time given me some good discussion with people on the area of sexual abuse. This story needed a brighter, sharper light to see into the corners of the Friedman's world. The documentary fuzzed things, made the eccentric porn loving dad and boys appear basically harmless and a bit obsessive. Not sure I buy that view.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this is something else!, 24 Oct 2007
By 
sean paul mccann "mccanns23" (ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
capturing the friedmans is a stunning documentary,without fear of exaggeration,that is exactly what it is.The subject matter is troublesome and certainly uncomfortable,that being child abuse but how the documentary unfolds will ultimately have you feeling one way or another but you will find a reaction in yourself,few films can state to do the same.
The film,i will call it a film for now,deals with the friedman family,an affluemnt family in long island,America,the family is well liked,respected and with father,mother and three sons,they were the picture of happiness.However their world was soon to turn upside down and then some.The father of the family,Arnold,subscribed to a child abuse magazine that was intercepted by police,they then went to his house and searched it finding a load of similar magazines,they also found that he was a computer teacher to local boys and interviewed them and found out that some of them spoke of sexual abuse by arnold and his son jessie and then began the fall down of the family.
The film is interlaced with home footage of the family growing up,the family were big on home movies and watching some of those gives insight to what happened after,there is also interviews with the family at the juncture of the films release along with lawyers,journalists and detectives,the families of the sons abused and the people abused in the computer room alledgedly.
What makes this for riveting viewing is that arnold and jessie contested their innocence throughout,the home footage of the family talking just before trial and trying to punch holes in the states case is great but nerveracking and very real,very real.
The film also asks you the viewer to ask yourself whether after hearing the testimony whether you think they did it or not,for my money i think they didnt do it but i may be wrong,do they go to jail,you will have to find out yourself,some of the testimony is laughable in my eyes,one of the witnesses who states he was abused contradicts himself on numerous occasions and weakens his argument,others state that the police told the boys what to say,the family seemed to be railroaded.
The footage of the three sons siding with their father ,while their mother couldnt decide his guilt or not and then the eldest son david falling out with his mum in savage style is again beyond words in its power.
The extras are again stunning,a second disc packed to the rafters with footage from the films premiere and the fights that occured,more home footage,more documents and trial footage,yes you even get trial footage,stunning.
This is a cracking show,so real and so poignant at the same time,what you feel is up to you ,but you wont leave unscathed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping look at a dysfunctional family., 24 April 2010
By 
Ernie (Kent) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Originally planned as a documentary about David Friedman, New York's number one children's party clown, the focus of this film changed as soon as it was revealed that both David's father Arnold, a well respected teacher, was the subject of a police sting operation involving Arnold ordering pornographic child magazines from Holland.
As the documentary continues and the police investigation unfolds it's uncovered that Arnold is under suspicion, and subsequently charged with multiple counts of sexually abusing young students at his after school computer classes, and while interviewed students testify that David's younger brother Jesse had also abused them. As the pair face numerous charges of child molestation the documentary tells the story of the Friedman family through home movies, interviews and fly on the wall footage and captures the storm surrounding what was a well respected middle class family.
Aside from the engrossing and disturbing subject matter what makes `Capturing The Friedmans' so interesting is the Friedman family themselves, a heavily male dominated family in which father and sons seem to constantly try and outdo each other with self deprecating humour and eccentricities which often result in the mother of the family being pushed outside of the male dominated circle. And as the evidence mounts against Arnold and Jesse, and the trial approaching the male members' of family never seem to get a grip of the gravity of the situation, instead trying to push on with a normal day to day life. By the end of the film you'll either be condemning two deceitful and calculating paedophiles or a extraordinary miscarriage of justice, but the story of the Friedman's is one which will leave you with more questions than answers. If you enjoy documentaries then this isn't something you should miss.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly intelligent and well made documentary, 3 Feb 2005
I only rented the main feature through the Amazon rental scheme, so cannot comment on the extra features on Disc 2. Having said this, I wish that I had rented both discs as watching the film left me absolutely intrigued by the case and wanting to know more.
For the movie itself - it is an incredibly involving and at times shocking insight into how a seemingly ordinary family is torn apart by allegations of child abuse brought against the father and youngest son in the Friedman family. While the allegations themselves seem highly implausible, your certainty about this is always being undercut by potentially relevant evidence the other way. For example, the revelation that Arnold Friedman admitted to 2 incidents of instances where "he took liberties" with young boys when on summer vacation at his beach house, also the suggestion that he had a coercive relationship with his younger brother aged 8 when he was 11. While the brother himself denies this flatly, I am not sure that anyone would be brave enough to be filmed on a documentary - with his partner sat next to him all the while, although this is only suggested late in the movie when the camera fades out to a wider view as opposed to a talking head - admitting to this.
What was most fascinating was the footage filmed by one of the brothers in the time after Arnold had been arrested. The family pretty much divides along gender lines, with the boys vehemently denying that the allegations could be true with the mother saying that "she does not know." There is the whole issue of whether there was almost an unspoken compact between the father and the sons he had potentially abused versus the mother on the outside of this relationship. This comes into focus in the disputed version of events between Jesse and his lawyer when plea bargaining - the lawyer stating that Jesse admitted that his father had regularly abused him while he was growing up while Jesse states that the lawyer suggested he testify in this way to get a reduced sentence. Some of the denial from the oldest son, David, seemed so strident that I wondered whether this was part of a blocking mechanism.
What really made the film gripping was the absence of the main character (and one of the brothers) who the allegations were levelled against, Arnold Freeman. By the time the film was made, he had committed suicide, so the director could not ask him. Even while he was on film at home after the arrest had been made but before he was sentenced, he seems to have very little to say about what has happened while all around him are arguing and tearing strips out of each other. You could read this as the weary response of a beaten man. Alternatively, it could be the reaction of a man who knows he has done something wrong, though quite what we will never know. Interestingly, the one time in the film where he looks relaxed and happy with his family is the night before he received sentencing.
Arnold Freeman obviously was a paedophile, as the shocking testimony of one witness shows when he got excited by a 4 year while he was being visited in prison, but this doesn't necessarily mean that the charges against him were valid as many of the witnesses who testified against him appeared in the film to state that they were pretty much led by police and prosecutors to give the desired answers, especially the witness whose memories of abuse came from recovered memory therapy.
I do not know what the truth was after watching this film but I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who wants an intelligent, thought provoking and moving documentary. The interview with the film maker after the feature is also very worth watching. I will be watching the movie again before I send it back in the light of his comments.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and Compelling, 4 Aug 2004
By A Customer
Watching this documentary is an amazing and potentially exhausting experience. In summary, the film centres on a family (the Friedmans - father, mother, 3 sons) who live in Great Neck, Long Island. The father and one of the sons are accused of molesting students of a voluntary computer class which is run at the family home after school in the early 1980s.
Amazingly, the family, who have always used video cameras to document their lives, film themselves during the ensuing hysteria surrounding the allegations. The viewer is therefore privy to highly personal family arguments and video diaries.
As time passes the allegations against the accused become more and more outrageous, particularly as no physical evidence is ever found. The prosecution relies entirely on testimony from 'the victims' some of which is elicited only after they have undergone hypnosis.
The reaction of the community is predictably hysterical - rumour and death threats long before any real facts are known. NB: If you think this could only happen in America, remember the News of the World 'outing' of sex offenders some of which were no longer at the addresses published and the resultant violence against innocent people?
Perhaps the most clever aspect to the film is that just when the viewer thinks they have made up their mind as to the innocence or guilt of the accused, something else is revealed which questions your judgment.
Modern day interviews with the family, the victims and the police further adds to the confusion.
Without giving too much away I will only say that this is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen with the genuine family footage making it all the more compelling.
The DVD extras are also exrtemely worhwhile, especially the heated debate between the 'cast' in the theatre where they have just watched the premiere of the film. There are also updates on the family and developments since the film was released cinematically.
Trust no-one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Even if u have seen the film you'll want this!, 15 Feb 2005
By 
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I first saw this film on the DVD and was appalled,shocked,mesmerised etc. There are enough good reviews of this film out there. But it is the dvd extras that are fascinating, particularly a showing of the film with many of the actual people in the audience, eg social workers, police and one of the sons. If you want to know what happened after this film was made and shown then you have to get the DVD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling documentary, 24 Jan 2011
By 
S. Herbertson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Having being drawn to recent documentary features such as Spellbound, I took a chance on Andrew Jarecki's 'Capturing the Friedmans', having heard and read little about it. It is, without a doubt, one of the most compelling and troubling films I have ever seen. I won't re-hash the story as other reviewers have done that already, but would urge you to buy this film. Once the main feature is over you are desperate for more information, more clues and the second disc in the set goes some way to satiating that need.
The beauty of the film, expressed by Jarecki in both his commentary and in a Charlie Rose interview, is that it finally provides - albeit too late - the fair trial that the Friedmans should have been granted. Whatever the 'truth' of the story is, and we may never really know, the prejudice that was brought to bear on the case by the police, judiciary, the community and the media made it impossible for this most complicated family to be accorded their constitutional rights. We, the audience, are the jury now. Jarecki provides both prosecution and defence cases and we are left to decide the guilt.
Quite apart from the compelling material, which makes this film so much more thrilling than any Hollywood drama of recent memory, the film is beautifully shot. Jarecki exposes evidence carefully so that just when you feel that your mind is made up something is thrown in that broadsides you. Andrea Morricone's beautiful music is the perfect accompaniment to the anguish that the viewer feels throughout this painful quest for the 'truth'. The film's website (...)is a worthy partner to the film with some unheard audio footage, and is well worth visiting.
This is not quite an enjoyable film - the material too uncomfortable for that - but it is one that should be seen. Make sure you watch it with someone as all you will want to do afterwards is discuss it - and then you'll want to watch it again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars younger perspective, 5 July 2007
By 
K. L. Saville "Kate" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
as a younger person i felt watching this for my current media studies a level work that this film is gripping and gives the audience the opportunity to make up their own mind. i felt that there were many different unsolved issues to this case but which most would remain unsolved. i also feel that this case will never be able to figure out the truth due to the continued media interest in this case, and how it has affected peoples perceptions of what really happened.
no forensic evidence seemed to have been found by the police and many children admitted they were almost "bullied" into saying the abuse took place.
a very hard hitting film which entertains and makes you question many things.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the truth, 1 Nov 2008
By 
To say this movie is 'thought-provoking' is perhaps putting it a bit lightly. "Capturing The Friedmans" should go down as one of the bravest and most honest films about the crime of paedophilia ever made: it makes no judgements, it takes no sides, it refuses to draw conclusions beyond the evidence (much of which is confusing, contradictory, and probably unreliable - from all sides).

It's easy in child-abuse cases to treat the accused as either monstrous perpetrator or misunderstood victim, but this film refuses to be drawn into either simplistic trap. Instead it shows, piecemeal, how testimony and evidence do not actually produce cut-and-dried cases, how the further into a story you go the more unclear it becomes, and how those with something to say are not always coming from unbiased standpoints.

This is less a film about child abuse than about the processes, hype and accusation-counter-accusation that accompany allegations of this sort. Somewhere in the middle of this disturbing story, there may well be victims who deserved better than the protagonists allowed them.

This film will leave a lasting impression on you, for a long time to come.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fried Friedmans, 3 April 2013
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The DVD arrived ahead of time and in excellent condition. Haven't watched all of it, but looking forward to have a DVD feast when I have time.
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