Sexual Predation and Pedophilia in Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight

(19 November 2014)

Trigger Warning: Rape

I just saw the latest film (July 2014) by rapist Woody Allen, Magic in the Moonlight. In the movie, Emma Stone’s character, made to look as young as possible, falls in love with a 50-something man, played by 54-year-old Colin Firth. There are scenes in which she literally looks like she’s a teen.

These are stills of the 50-year-old man’s love interest:

Magic in the Moonlight stills teenager

You would think that after Dylan Farrow, Woody Allen’s own daughter, published an open letter in the New York Times and a lengthy interview in Vanity Fair, painfully detailing the rape and sexual abuse she experienced as a seven-year-old, at the hands of her own father, Allen would try to distance himself from such kinds of romances, yet, nay, Woody Allen doesn’t even try to hide it. He appears to be proud of his sexual predation, happy to flaunt his impunity in the faces of his viewers.

In many of rapist Woody Allen’s films (this is by no means the only one; also see: Manhattan, Whatever Works, Mighty Aphrodite, etc.), a young woman seduces a 40+-year-old man. She always initiates. This is the twisted mind of a child abuser, one who claims that it is always the young woman responsible for instigation, who insists that he is not the aggressor.

Here’s a frame from the rapist’s 2009 film, Whatever Works, in which the character played by 21-year-old Evan Rachel Wood falls in love with the character played by 61-year-old Larry David. Again, she initiates, and David’s character “reluctantly” gives in.

whatever works frame

Here’s another frame, this time from Allen’s 1995 Mighty Aphrodite, in which a character played by 27-year-old Mira Sorvino seduces a character played by 59-year-old Woody Allen.

mighty aphrodite frame

Rapist Woody Allen basically just keeps remaking Lolita over and over again. It’s disgusting.

Films like this demonstrate why I argued, contrary to the insistence of many Woody Allen apologists, we should not “leave the art out of” critiques of the sexual predator of minors. As I wrote in this February 2014 article:

Farrow’s allegations are not the only thing that might lead us to suspect Allen of sexual predation of minors. If this were an individual who didn’t have a past of, oh, you know, dating the daughter of his 12-year-long partner, perhaps the truth of the allegations might be a tad bit (only a tad bit) less probable. This knowledge, however, lends new meaning to Woody Allen quotes like “I like little girls overwhelmingly better than little boys” (said in person),” “I’m dating a girl who does homework” (said in Manhattan), “There’s a certain warmth and poignance associated with young women I would never have seen without her” (said in person, in speaking of Diane Keaton), or, perhaps most damning of all, “I’m open-minded about sex. I’m not above reproach; if anything, I’m below reproach. I mean, if I was caught in a love nest with 15 12-year-old girls tomorrow, people would think, yeah, I always knew that about him” (in a 1976 issue People).

Films like Whatever Works and Manhattan, both of which feature young women (21 in the former, 17 in the latter) dating men decades older than them (interestingly, Allen always depicts these relationships as young women coming on to older men, and not the inverse) too seem more prescient. Even Robert B. Weide, in his popular defense of Allen, published in the Daily Beast about a week before Farrow’s open letter, was willing to admit that, “If anyone is creeped out by the notion of a 55-year old man becoming involved with his girlfriend’s 19-year old adopted daughter, I understand.”

Yet, unfortunately, as I have also written before, under a global system of what bell hooks refers to as white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchy, rich white male celebrities like Woody Allen essentially have impunity.