Let’s look at the evidence: Mia Farrow was married to Frank Sinatra for two years. She drove the singer mad, Dean Martin pointed out that he had Scotch that was older than her, she was 19, Sinatra was 48.
Her role in Rosemary’s Baby encapsulates her elfin grace, showing her being consumed by something growing inside and is one of the few films to look at pregnancy as something terrifying, Rosemary’s Baby was a better choice than doing The Detective with Sinatra. It was the first of many ‘possession’ films leading up to Friedkin’s spectacularly disgusting The Exorcist (1972).
She hardly pulled her weight in her next films and needed the voodoo magic of Polanski to bring out her best work.
She was Daisy in The Great Gatsby, probably only because Robert Evans couldn’t get Ali McGraw (they were recently divorced), she looked the part but was not in any way sexy or alluring, so why should Gatsby have gone to so much effort to get her?
Her career was quiet for a years when she was away being a mother with Andre Previn (1970-1979). Then came Full Circle, Death On the Nile, Avalanche, and then along came Woody.
It is now the subject of dispute whether he did her very great good or ill. Their living arrangement led to grotesque melodrama, with children biological and adopted as front-line soldiers. They were never actually married, although it seemed to the public that they were. Her films with Woody are: A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, Zelig, Broadway Danny Rose, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Hannah and Her Sisters and Radio Days. that list was as many as the Diane Keaton films Allen made in the seventies, yet she continued to work with Allen, even though the roles were no longer fresh: September , Another Woman, Oedipus Wrecks, Crimes and Misdemaenours, Alice, Shadows and fog, Husbands and Wives. As for the last film, it came as the Soon-Yi scandal was at its height, and seemed very much a case of life imitating art.
She has spoken badly of Allen, she found a nude photograph of Soon-Yi in 1992 which led to the custody battle, they have joint custody of their biological children. She went to Ireland to make Widow’s Peak; Miami Rhapsody; Reckless; Anglea Mooney; Private Parts,Redux riding Hood; Coming Soon;Forget Me Never; A Girl Thing; Purpose; Black Irish.
Verdict: Mia Farrow is a highly intelligent woman who has made some good films, but her personal life has been brought into question. She has always needed a strong male presence in her life, but the thought remains that her father – John Farrow, director, Catholicism and something of a wildman – may be the dominant male influence in her life.
So, not a villain, just sometimes misunderstood by the general public.