The 1995 Woody Allen/Mia Farrow TV Movie Is a Lurid, Campy Mess


Back in 1995, Fox aired a four-hour miniseries event, Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story, that focused on the actress’s relationship with Woody Allen, his affair with her daughter Soon-Yi, the allegations that he molested their daughter Dylan and the couple’s subsequent bitter custody battle. It was a melodrama that played like a parody.

The film’s schlocky production value (e.g. the numerous, soft-focus sex scenes with the moody saxophone soundtrack) and Dennis Boutsikaris’s caricature-esque portrayal of Woody turns the family’s really serious issues into farce. (That being said, is there any way to accurately portray Woody Allen without seeming like satire?) A scene in which Woody shoots naked polaroids of Soon-Yi lacks any kind of eroticism — or even a sense of immorality — because the acting is so distracting.

On the flip side, actress Patsy Kensit — in a series of ill-fitting wigs — didn’t even bother to try to behave or speak like Mia. (Fun fact: A young Hayden Christensen plays Mia’s son Fletcher.)

Still, all of the family’s most lurid history — currently being rehashed in the media — was fodder for Love and Betrayal, including Mia’s 1992 Valentine’s Day card (which the film managed to replicate, quite eerily), the investigation into the molestation allegations, and the courtroom drama of the custody battle.

The movie was based on the book, Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal, written by Kristi Groteke (with the help of a People magazine writer) who worked as a nanny for Mia’s four youngest kids from 1991 to 1993. She interviewed Mia for the book, and then played herself in the TV movie. It was the end of her acting career.

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