At the height of his stardom Michael Jackson began long-running relationships with two boys, aged 7 and 10, and their families. Now in their 30s, they tell the story of how they were sexually abused by Jackson, and how they came to terms with it years later.
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“Leaving Neverland” does not offer any new evidence of abuse, but it is nonetheless a gruelling and devastating film that asks viewers to reconfigure how they think about both Jackson and potential victims of rape.
[HBO pt] (tears) Honestly don't know how'll I procure stamina to deal with this and blow it off of my memory and unsee this for good. MJ: Disney meets Fritzl. So he really was a serial rapist pedophile. 'Thanks!' : 80s & 90s are officially buried+gone for me for good. No hero (apart from Curtis+Bowie) of mine is without stain. 'I either looked at him masturbating at me (a 7 y.o. boy) or at Peter Pan.' FUCK! </3 ▽
Four-hours of gratuitous descriptions of child-sexual-abuse contrasted against footage of heartbroken victims & incriminating cutaways to Jackson himself. If it's persuasive it's because it was designed to be. The film numbs the senses, repeating its 'Jackson as abuser' rhetoric to the point of brainwashing its audience into submission. Is Jackson guilty? Quite probably! But something about this feels manipulative.
As the title suggests, a sense of what it means to not grow-up in the manner owing is conveyed by this disquieting documentary which is as much about the ramifications of alleged abuse as that about Jackson’s behaviour. It takes a long while to establish itself with too much explicit detail before settling into a revealing account of parental naivety (societal too to an extent) and its appalling domino effect.
As gut-wrenching of a documentary as they come, equipped with no easy answers, stomach-turning details, and an "art vs. artist" debate that will last a generation and beyond. "Leaving Neverland" is a nightmare of sexual abuse, child-grooming, and the adulation and unchecked power possessed by a global superstar. Its presentation is clinical and linear, but that's what these stories, after so many decades, deserve.
A horrifying, yet essential deep dive into “the big seduction,” and the abuses of power and incredible levels of complacency that come with stardom. This four hour narrative deconstructs, in vividly painful detail, the long-lasting effects of child abuse. Compelling, heartbreaking, unforgettable! Also reopens the door to further the complex discussion around “art vs artist.”
Devastating, just devastating. As a young child of the 80's I idolized and wanted to be like Michael Jackson, as did all my young friends at the time. Now there can be no doubt, my childhood idol was a very sick man whose celebrity allowed him to abuse children with impunity. My heart bleeds for these men who had the strength to come forward and speak the truth.This documentary is a moving testament to their courage.