50 Documentaries to See Before You Die

Capturing the Friedmans (2003)

Director: Andrew Jarecki

The Friedmans appeared to be a normal, upperclass Jewish family living in Great Neck, New York. Yet, a late 1980's police investigation exposed a world of child pornography and molestation. At the center of the story are the family's patriarch, Arnold Friedman, who was a computer teacher working from home with a roster of underaged students, and his son Jesse, alleged to be his father's accomplice.

The creepiest thing about Capturing the Friedmans is how run-of-the-mill the family seems on the surface. It's a classic example of what really goes on behind closed doors, how the most idyllic-looking of folks can harbor some disgusting secrets. While filmmaker Andrew Jarecki takes an objective stance, the finished product proves that Friedman was a pedophile, and that sickos aren't restricted to news reports and newspaper clippings—more often than not, they live right next door. Capturing the Friedmans is a suburban nightmare. —MB

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