Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story (1995)

Taking the cue for its title from Woody Allen’s Love and Death, this biopic was made shortly after Mia Farrow and Woody Allen’s split hit the headlines. Yet for all the scandal associated with the affair, a more appropriate title to describe the film’s effect on the viewing audience comes from another of Woody’s earlier efforts; Sleeper.

 

Courtesy of intermittent flashbacks, all preceded by clumsy introductions, we are treated to various other infidelities Mia suffered throughout her life. She witnesses firsthand her father’s adultery, both husbands openly cheat on her, and when she seeks spiritual guidance with the Beatles in India, the Maharishi propositions her. All of this could have made fascinating viewing, particularly considering husband number one was none other than Frank Sinatra. Instead, each flashback is so numbingly presented that when Mia starts recalling her past, your sympathies align with the companion who has to endure the story.

 

Patsy Kensit’s portrayal doesn’t help. Her impersonation of Mia’s hesitant speech pattern, which the actress adopted in her films with Woody, considerably adds to an already long running time.  More successful is Dennis Boutsikaris’s portrayal of Woody Allen, capturing the comic’s idiosyncrasies without resorting to caricature.

 

Though a mostly even-handed approach by the filmmakers leaves open the question whether Crimes and Misdemeanours were committed, the acrimony between Woody and Mia ensures there is no Hollywood Ending.

1/3

“I cannot remain silent in the face of Fox’s unconscionable disregard for the true facts of my life, particularly the film’s gross distortion of the Woody Allen child-abuse incident, in which the New York courts found substantial evidence to suggest the abuse did occur”.

Mia Farrow

Woody Allen has continually denied the child-abuse allegations. When they resurfaced again in 2014, after he won the Golden Globes Cecil B. DeMille award, he wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, which ended (in part) with the following...

Of course, I did not molest Dylan. I loved her and hope one day she will grasp how she has been cheated out of having a loving father and exploited by a mother more interested in her own festering anger than her daughter’s well-being. Being taught to hate your father and made to believe he molested you has already taken a psychological toll on this lovely young woman, and Soon-Yi and I are both hoping that one day she will understand who has really made her a victim and reconnect with us, as Moses has, in a loving, productive way.

Biopic contains a myriad of brief scene recreations, including A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, Broadway Danny Rose, Husbands and Wives, The Great Gatsby and even Von Ryan’s Express. It also features the most bizarre transition to a scene recreation, as Old Blues Eyes becomes Old Red Eyes from Rosemary's Baby.

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