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Capturing The Friedmans

Updated on May 5, 2017

For this paper I will be discussing and summarizing the movie Capturing the Friedmans, and explain how it is related to two concepts that I have learned in class so far. This film shows the father, named Arnold, being tried for sodomy; this man was seen as a perfect person who would never harm anyone. Arnold was always busy helping his community such as providing classes like piano and computer classes. Arnold was caught with children pornographic magazines and was arrested, and his son was also arrested due to the confessions made that he was molesting the kids with his father. During this whole documentary I was able to see that the three kids were in denial and would not believe that the father would do such a thing, and they were very distant with their mother because she would not agree to support their father the way they wanted her to. During this film there were many details and information of what Arnold has done and they are very uncomfortable to speak about.


The two concepts that I have read in the book that I think can relate to the film would be the concept of false memory and the social learning theory. I think false memory played a big role in the documentary because the bother of Arnold did not remember or have any recollection of him getting molested from Arnold. False memory is when you start to believe or imagine memories to replace the bad ones because they were very traumatic for a child to go through. Another great example of false memory would be when the students from the computer class are being interviewed by the police, they do not remember how things went. When the police interviewed the students they would not ask them how things happen, instead they would basically tell them how things went and waited for the student to respond yes or no to what the officer was providing them. The other concept that I believe that was showed thought out the film would be the social learning theory, because Arnold thought it was okay and normalized for him to explore about sex. The meaning for social learning theory is when someone observes something happen and then think it is okay for them do it also. For example, while Arnold and his brother were growing up from a separated family, his mother would bring different men at home, and since she shared a room with the kids they would see and hear her having sex with those men. For Arnold to see and hear his mother having sex with those men, Arnold thought it was okay to explore his sexual identity with his younger brother and therefore molested him.

In this film, we can see that Arnold’s brother has repressed memory of his childhood, because Arnold wrote down things about his life, and one of the big things that would be considered as his brother having repressed memory is that when he was eight years old he was molested by thirteen-year-old Arnold. In the documentary you can see the part when he says that he does not have any kind of recollection or ever remembered crying for help. Our memories cannot be very reliable because we might think something happened one way because we choose to believe, or people can influence us to believe things that actually did not happened. The police and the media did have a big role for this case and the investigation of the Mr. Friedman and his son. I believe that the police and the media did exaggerate when they started when describing the pictures that were taken while doing the search; they claimed that there was piles everywhere of magazines, but in the pictures you could tell that everything seemed to be normal and organized. I think that when these kids were interviewed about what had happened to them, they tried to make them believe that they were molested. One student claimed that nothing has ever happened while attending to those computer classes, and another student said that they would play inappropriate games and that they were molested. I do think that these kids may have been brainwashed to say more than what actually happened. Maybe these kids were being molested but the issue is that multiple kids were in the same room and saw nothing. I do agree if something was happening and these kids felt like they were uncomfortable, then why did they not say anything to their parents? Some reasons that I can think of is that maybe they were threated or they were also being a victim of poly-victimization.

Will this video help bring out more awareness for adults about their children and their spouse?

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