Family life has always been essentially a private preserve, a world of secrets and closed doors, of guarded relationships and unattractive truths that never see the light of day.

Andrew Jarecki's film, CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS is such an amazing revelation because it does what the title promises: captures a family on film. It creates a portrait which is complex, ambivalent, and absolutely engrossing because of video. Home movies were limited to recording special events, but the development of home video changed all that and made this film possible.

The Friedmans are a seemingly typical, upper-middle-class Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes. Caught up in hysteria and with their Great Neck community in an uproar, the family undergoes a media onslaught.

The film follows their story – from the public’s perspective and, most remarkably, through unique footage of the family in crisis, shot contemporaneously by members inside the Friedman house.

Given access to the family videos, Jarecki constructs his film as an investigation, but our expectations are constantly subverted. The film inquires not just into the life of a family but into a community, a legal system, and an era. By constantly changing perspectives and keeping the audience's judgments and understanding in flux, Capturing the Friedmans embodies the difficulty of capturing the truth.




107 Mins






United States of America

Director & Writer

This is Andrew Jarecki's first feature film. He produced the short film, SWIMMING, which screened at the Sundance Film Festival and also won the Focus Film Award. As a musician, he co-wrote and performed the theme song for FELICITY on the WB Network. He was also the founder and CEO of Moviefone, which was acquired by America Online in 1999. He is a graduate of Princeton University and resides with his family in New York.


Marc Smerling


Jesse Friedman
Seth Friedman
Arnold Friedman
David Friedman
Elaine Friedman
Howard Friedman

Additional Credits

Associate Producer
Jennifer Rogen
Production Company
Hit the Ground Running Films
Adolfo Doring
Andrea Morricone
Richard Hankin
John Gurrin