Greta Gerwig accepted the National Board of Review Award for Best Director last night in New York for Lady Bird. Lady Bird won the Best Film Comedy/Musical Golden Globe on Sunday. It was nominated for 3 BAFTAs yesterday (though not in the best film or directing categories) and, as you know, it’s expected to be an Oscar contender when the nominations are announced later this month. Greta, then, is one of the stars of this award season. And on Sunday, when Time’s Up was making its statement on Sunday, many people pointed out that Greta has worked with Woody Allen – she was in To Rome With Love – like so many other high profile names in Hollywood who’ve either defended their decisions, claimed ignorance about the accusations against him, or simply haven’t been asked (most of the men). None of the previous responses to The Woody Allen Question have felt adequate – and, most importantly, none of those responses have felt like there can be a step forward. Until now?
In a joint interview with Aaron Sorkin (f-cking Sorkin!) with The New York Times published yesterday, Greta was asked about Woody Allen and offered this response:
I would like to speak specifically to the Woody Allen question, which I have been asked about a couple of times recently, as I worked for him on a film that came out in 2012. It is something that I take very seriously and have been thinking deeply about, and it has taken me time to gather my thoughts and say what I mean to say. I can only speak for myself and what I’ve come to is this: If I had known then what I know now, I would not have acted in the film. I have not worked for him again, and I will not work for him again. Dylan Farrow’s two different pieces made me realize that I increased another woman’s pain, and I was heartbroken by that realization. I grew up on his movies, and they have informed me as an artist, and I cannot change that fact now, but I can make different decisions moving forward.
Some people say sorry and the apology seems hollow. Here’s someone who is apologising without actually saying sorry but the sorry is much more felt. Greta expresses regret for working with Woody Allen (“if I had known then… I would not have acted in the film”); she is specific about what that regret is (“I increased another woman’s pain”); she respects Dylan Farrow by acknowledging her by name; she understands that she cannot undo her actions but she pledges to learn from those mistakes in the future.
No other reaction in this case matters more than Dylan Farrow’s. In fact, no other reaction matters at all but Dylan Farrow’s. Dylan Farrow has openly and recently criticised the people who have previously defended or tried to explain working with Woody Allen. Here is Dylan Farrow’s response to Greta Gerwig:
Greta, thank you for your voice. Thank you for your words. Please know they are deeply felt and appreciated. https://t.co/q7dV2yAFwH— Dylan Farrow (@realdylanfarrow) January 10, 2018
I’m a cynical person. Cynical people would point out that, right now, Greta Gerwig is campaigning for an Oscar. So of course she’ll say what she needs to say. Sure. But aren’t they all campaigning all the time? And do they all get it the way Greta gets it? Not even close. In fact, most of them don’t f-cking get it at all.
So this is what Greta Gerwig just did – she showed them how, she gave everyone a blueprint, a template, an example. She did the work.