This is an excellently written piece. The tough question for me is: what do we do about work we admire written by people we do not? Some aspects of David Foster Wallace come to mind. Definitely Polanski, and von Trier, among a canon of other people with reprehensible qualities.
At an impressionable age, I took a liking to Annie Hall (1977). I was a teen, and I hadn’t seen enough movies to realize I was being overly-impressed by his breaking the fourth wall and by the other narrative gimmicks employed in the film. I read his short stories, and giggled, not realizing the pattern I was missing there — one played out in his life. One thing I didn’t do with the short pieces was valorize them as art. I tried to watch other Allen films and couldn’t get into them. Later, I watched Match Point (2005), and I liked it. Then, again, I tried to watch other Allen movies and found them insufferable.
The more I found out about him, the less I liked him. I actually had come up with a pattern of my own: that folks who really loved Allen films tended to be superficial white dudes, Nietzschean and non-intuitive, and the women who were attracted to them.
His abuse of minors in his care really bothered me to the point, prior to #metoo, that I avoided his films. It was easy to avoid them: as you point out, they’re stale rewrites of what he’s done before, self-indulgent and privileged and lacking artistic daring.
It is impossible now, in #metoo, that he escapes unscathed.
Thanks for attempting to bring the public figure to be reconciled with the anachronistic and offensive traits of his work.
Too bad the many people you reached out for comment, and those who justified their participation in his films, lacked the moral courage to do the same.
Now I get to dance around the tough question: the question is still tough for me as it concerns those people whose works I admire, but it is not tough for me about Allen’s work.
He’s a hack, not an artist, and an awful person. Folks who participate in his work are just as complicit in what he represents as Republicans who don’t oppose Trump.
His oeuvre is the the filmic equivalent of episodes of the Big Bang theory: aw, shucks! misogyny, overly precious, which mistake quirky for smart.