Travels into one apparently ordinary Long Island family’s heart of darkness. Arnold and Elaine Friedman had a normal life with their three sons until Arnold was arrested on multiple (and increasingly lurid) charges of child abuse. Because the Friedmans had documented their own lives with copious home movies, filmmaker Andrew Jarecki is able to sift through their material looking for clues. Yet what emerges is more surreal than fiction: the youngest Friedman son went to jail, the eldest became a birthday-party clown. In the end, we can’t be sure whether Arnold Friedman is a monstrous child molester or the victim of railroading. The portrait of a disconnected family is deeply disturbing, either way, and this film is further proof that a documentary can be just as spellbinding as anything a great storyteller dreams up. –Robert Horton.
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