What happens when a seemingly normal New York family is ripped apart by accusations of child abuse? It is an interesting question and one that is examined here to jaw dropping effect.
Interviews with everyone involved on both sides of the argument (director Andrew Jarecki does well to maintain ambiguity but off camera he is convinced of the Friedmans innocence) and extensive home footage of the Friedman family falling apart give a unique insight into a criminal case that is far from cut and dry. After watching this documentary and reading a lot of other material surrounding the case I am still no closer to an opinion on whether the Friedmans are innocent or guilty and one of the best things about the film is you will go from being sure they are guilty to being sure they are innocent in the space of minutes.
One thing that is certain is that the cops made mistakes which is an affront to both the accuser and the accused and that the justice system (particularly in America) leads to guilty pleas’ for reduced sentences which is a deeply flawed system.
Obviously given the subject matter Capturing the Friedmans is not a pleasant watch but it is one of the more compelling and original documentary’s of recent times.