In recent months, many have been re-examining the way we as a society have exiled odious members of Hollywood’s elite like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, while Woody Allen has found continual acceptance and celebration – despite having (allegedly) molested his daughter Dylan Farrow in 1994, when she was only seven years old. The evidence that Allen is guilty of this crime is overwhelming and his defenders are dwindling by the day – more and more actors are publicly claiming regret at having participated at all in Allen’s films and declaring they’ll never work with him again. But in all of this, it’s important that we keep in mind who Allen’s larger victim was – dudes who want to be able to say Annie Hall is their favorite romantic comedy in online dating profiles.
Woody Allen’s sick and monstrous actions have truly taken an enormous toll on us – guys who like saying Annie Hall is the best romcom, since it sounds more cerebral than stuff like Pretty Woman as it deals with heavy themes like belief, death, melancholy, and existentialism, which we assume will impress women. And the fact it features a protagonist who is neurotic, anxious, and feeble-looking doesn’t hurt. What other movie are we supposed to put in dating bios that indicate we’re the same kind of anemic-looking intellectual deserving of gorgeous women with quirky fashion senses? I’m sorry, but Love Actually just won’t cut it.
Really, the entire oeuvre of Allen’s work is now apparently unusable in dating profiles – even mature, more artistic gems like Manhattan, which is a lot like Annie Hall, except smarter (it’s filmed in black & white), and was usually a pretty solid second option for dating profiles if you felt like Annie Hall was too cliche of an answer. But now apparently the plotline where Woody Allen’s character is dating a high schooler is “weird” and “a clear, explicit confession by a pedophile so confident and narcissistic that he felt like he could work his perversions into the actual plotlines of his movies and face no consequences.” But what about the score George Gershwin? So classy!
Sure – in watching and celebrating Allen’s old work, we are complicit in normalizing him and his grotesque behavior (and perhaps subconsciously casting doubt on the allegations by Dylan Farrow – after all, if we TRULY believed Allen was a child molestor, how could we stand to watch his films, nearly all of which serve as vehicles for him playing a thinly-veiled version of himself?), but think of the consequences of saying his lifetime of work is no longer socially acceptable – I’ll have to find romantic comedies not about neurotic, physically-unimposing cowards obsessed with sex that beautiful women throw themselves at (which is literally the only kind of protagonist I can find compelling, for some reason). Is that a world we want to live in?
So while my heart goes out to Dylan Farrow, we shouldn’t let the horrific event she survived at the hands of her father ruin the dating profiles of men everywhere who want to ignore all of that and go on liking Annie Hall, right? Right.