Capturing the Friedmans

Rated 4.0 Andrew Jarecki’s documentary examines the Friedman family of Great Neck, N.Y. (teacher Arnold; his wife, Elaine; and their sons, David, Seth and Jesse) and the devastating effects on the family when, in 1986, Arnold and Jesse (then 18) were charged with sexually abusing several neighborhood boys during computer classes in the Friedmans’ home. The film relies heavily on the family’s penchant (almost an obsession) for recording everything—home movies, video, audio tape—even as the family disintegrates under the pressure. Adding interviews with most of the family today (Seth declined) and others involved, Jarecki paints a picture of Rashomon-like complexity and ambiguity. It’s like watching a horrible train wreck, and in the end, Jarecki rightly credits the Friedmans’ courage in letting their story be told.