Good documentaries reveal the truth. Better documentaries ask, What is truth? Capturing the Friedmans is a great documentary because of the way it suggests there is no absolute truth about this family in turmoil. The film, which won the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival, is the debut feature of Andrew Jarecki, the man who founded Moviefone and made a bundle selling it to AOL.
The film begins on Thanksgiving Eve 1987, when the Friedman house is raided by police who discover child pornography belonging to the family patriarch, Arnold, an award-winning math teacher and respected member of the community. His entire family is stunned, especially his wife, Elaine. The situation then gets worse: Arnold and his 18-year-old son, Jesse, are accused of committing rape and sodomy in an after-school computer class that they taught together.
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