Capturing the Friedmans (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

Capturing the Friedmans (2003)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: A haunting depiction of a disintegrating family, and a powerful argument on the elusiveness of truth.

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Movie Info

The Friedmans are a seemingly typical, upper-middle-class Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes. Caught up in hysteria and with their community in an uproar, the family undergoes a media onslaught. The film inquires not just into the life of a family but into a community, a legal system, and an era.

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Critic Reviews for Capturing the Friedmans

All Critics (147) | Top Critics (41)

Without a doubt a disconcertingly engrossing, difficult-to-shake experience.

Full Review… | July 25, 2003
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Disturbing, yet undeniably fascinating.

July 25, 2003
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

It takes the concept of reality television and twists it into a shocking but poignant art form.

July 25, 2003
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Watching this remarkable production is like going on safari to that creepy world. It's a fascinating place to visit, but you wouldn't, not for a minute, want to live there.

July 22, 2003
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

The MPAA doesn't have a rating for queasy-making and heartbreaking. If it did, then Capturing the Friedmans would carry an advisory.

July 22, 2003
Denver Post
Top Critic

A documentary you won't be able to shake.

July 19, 2003
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Capturing the Friedmans

½

Its a fun fact that this film is in the "special interest" category, eh?

Coxxie Mild Sauce
Coxxie Mild Sauce

Super Reviewer

½

"Who do you believe?" Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middleclass Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.

REVIEW
Documentary film-making has taken a step up in recent years with an increasing number winning high acclaim. It's not surprising that a documentary as interesting and as personal as Capturing the Friedmans is one of the most highly rated, and director Andrew Jarecki's insight into a real-life family being torn apart fully deserves it's acclaim. Great documentaries are films that manage to tell a story while remaining objective, and even though this film handles the ever controversial theme of paedophilia; the director allows the relevant parties to tell the story as they remember it, and ultimately the viewer is left with only the facts surrounding the case, which can then be used to form an opinion. The real life case that the film handles is that of the trial of Arnold and Jessie Friedman. Arnold Friedman was arrested in 1987 on more than 400 charges against young boys aged 7 to 11, while Jessie Friedman was tried for several sexual acts against young boys that were studying in his father's computer class. The film follows their story told through relatives and people involved in the case. Perhaps the most astounding thing about this film is the fact that it was made. Most families wouldn't want documentary filmmakers (not to mention the world at large) getting in on their personal lives, but I suppose it did give them a chance to tell the story as they see it. The themes that the documentary handles are indeed harrowing, as aside from the obvious implications of being a paedophile; we've also got the destruction of a family unit, as well as statements of hatred from most of the family members. Andrew Jarecki keeps things moving by splicing real-life footage with testimonies from people involved with the case and the opinions of those close to the convicted. There are several facts that are presented, and some may believe that these are attempts to sway the audience; but the director only allows the actual facts to stand as the truth, while the personal opinions of those close to the central family are kept plainly as opinions. The film never makes a big thing of its central plot, and it's obvious that the director prefers to keep his eye on the family, which ensures that the resulting film is ultimately more frightening. Overall, this is a compelling watch and comes highly recommended.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

I love how this was structured as mystery of sorts, and how nobody was ever strictly villainized. I also love that David Friedman is a clown for a living. You can't make this stuff up, guys.

Jennifer Xu
Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

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