More than a few movie goers were alarmed to see Woody Allen play a middle-aged man dating a high school student in the 1979 film Manhattan.
The film is considered a classic all the same, and Allen’s character certainly expresses discomfort about falling for such a young person.
Yet seeing Manhattan today in light of accusations by Allen’s estranged daughter Dylan Farrow that he sexually abused her gives some Allen acolytes pause.
It’s hardly the most unsettling part of his film canon.
Esquire charted a series of scenes from Allen’s work that deal with child sexual abuse in ways both comic and dramatic.
Consider a sequence in Stardust Memories in which Allen’s character, Sandy, argues with a woman about his connection to a 14-year-old girl.
SANDY: I’m not attracted to her. What are you talking about?
DORRIE: Staring at her all through dinner. Giving each other looks.
SANDY: Stop it. She’s fourteen. She’s not even fourteen. She’s thirteen and a half.
DORRIE: I don’t care. I used to play those games with my father, so I know. I’ve been through all that.
SANDY: What games? You think I’m flirting with your kid cousin?
DORRIE: You smile at her.
SANDY: Yeah, I smile at her. I’m a friendly person. What do you want? She’s a kid. This is stupid. I don’t want to have this conversation.
DORRIE: Don’t tell me it’s stupid. I used to do that with my father across the table. All those private jokes. I know.
Earlier in the film, the same characters have this exchange:
SANDY: What about you? Did you have a little crush on him? You can admit this to me if you like.
DORRIE: Sure, we had a little flirting.
SANDY: A little small flirt? Mother away getting shock treatment, and the only beautiful daughter home. Long lingering breakfasts with Dad.
The Esquire article also brings up similar sequences in a one-act play Allen wrote called Honeymoon Motel and the 1986 film Hannah and Her Sisters.