“She Said” stars Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Jennifer Ehle, and Samantha Morton. Released on November 18, 2022, the film has two journalists breaking the story of the allegations against a movie producer.
The film was directed by Maria Schrader, who also directed “Meschugge”, “Love Life”, “Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe”, and “I’m Your Man”. It is based on the 2019 novel by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. There have been many stories that shocked the world of Hollywood. Some of them did that for the wrong reasons. However, none of them, not even the worst news, are as shocking as the truth behind one of the most successful movie producers in the world: Harvey Weinstein. For those unaware of the situation, 2017 saw the release of several allegations of sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein. He was accused of sexually harassing actresses and female employees at Miramax and The Weinstein Company for three decades. These allegations brought upon the end of Weinstein’s career as he was sentenced to 23 years of imprisonment, with another trial occurring as of this writing. This, along with financial troubles, resulted in The Weinstein Company becoming defunct. On the other hand, Miramax continues to live under the beIN Media Group and Paramount umbrella after the fiasco. More importantly, it gave birth to the “MeToo movement”, which allows other women to tell their experiences of sexual harassment, for better or worse. The brave heroes responsible for revealing the truth were the journalists from The New York Times: Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor. Their journey was showcased through their novel, which has now turned into a movie for everyone to experience it themselves. So was the film able to capture the emotion and impact of this shocking event? Let’s find out.
The movie’s story reflects the dramatization of the New York Times investigation that shook the world. The events are told from the perspectives of journalists Megan Twohey (Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Kazan). When they overhear a confession from an actress about movie producer Harvey Weinstein (Mike Houston), the journalists investigate further, only to discover that Weinstein is accused of sexually harassing other women in the industry for decades. As a result, Twohey and Kantor set out to expose the producer’s heinous acts, even though their process could bring them closer to being silenced for good.
I only remember hearing about these accusations through the news and social media, and much like everybody else, I was shocked. These actions were the norm back in the day, with nobody batting an eye. However, when the victims start to come clean about their experiences years later, we suddenly realize how sickening sexual abuse is. Even worse is how the accused attempt to cover their actions up in the most despicable way, including making the victims fear losing their jobs if they speak out. It shows how much society has changed regarding the treatment of women. It also got me curious about how these heroic journalists brought down one of the most powerful people in the film industry with just one newspaper article. Usually, I would read the book to find out what happened, but I figured its film adaptation would suffice.
After watching this movie, I felt nothing but sadness and anger toward the events onscreen. It was saddening to see what these women went through mentally after their horrible experiences with Weinstein. It also left me feeling frustrated that people like Weinstein would do something horrific to cover the accusations up and manage to get away with it, mainly threats. At least until they were exposed for their misdeeds. These emotions are the norm whenever I watch something based on a tragic or frustrating topic. Usually, it means a film did something right in portraying the raw emotion and honesty of its commentaries and themes. “She Said” happens to be one of those movies. Yes, reliving these emotional experiences is uncomfortable, but they’re essential in helping us make a difference and prevent more of these incidents from happening to anyone else. As a bonus, “She Said” is a well-crafted and highly compelling journalism drama that effectively relies on dialogue to maintain its suspense and discomfort.
The story offers a straightforward examination of Megan and Jodi’s investigation that led to the publishing of Weinstein’s sordid history towards his female workers. However, I also realized that the movie delivered something much more than that. It’s also an honest representation of the truth being silenced by a corrupt system, especially in the film industry. It showcases how dangerous people with power can be when they’re willing to lie or even threaten their victims to maintain their success. With the perspectives only set on the journalists and the victims, it makes the scenario even more unsettling when it forces me to imagine these events. It’s what I would call the “tell, don’t show” narrative in which the movie explains the experiences through dialogue. Most films and shows display this tool very well, and “She Said” is another superb example.
This is due to the film’s direction and screenplay. Director Maria Schrader delivers a simple yet effective approach to exploring the sense of realism and heartache through the eyes of these characters. She doesn’t go all-out with the drama or show any depictions of sexual abuse. Instead, she provides a series of subtle, dialogue-driven sequences where the only obstacle the characters face is the system. They may sound boring at first, considering it’s a movie about journalism, but they found a way to be engaging thanks to its solid pacing and the actors onscreen. I would even say that Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s screenplay was strong in adapting the novel to the screen with its dialogue and sense of honesty. My only issue is that it can be repetitive after a while since it’s nothing but one interview after another. However, it’s not enough to silence the movie, as it has the cast and a satisfying third act to compensate for it.
Not only was the film well-made regarding its direction and cinematography, but it’s also a remarkable showcase for the actors. Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan were fantastic in their roles as Megan and Jodi, respectively. With Megan and Jodi being the center of attention, the main actresses had to ensure they honored the real-life journalists through their performances and magnetic appeal. Unsurprisingly, they managed to do that with ease. It’s hard to tell whether they’re enough to get noticed in the Oscar race, but I know that Mulligan and Kazan were excellent regardless of the result. Patricia Clarkson also did a great job with her performance as Rebecca Corbett, as did Andre Braugher as Dean Baquet. I would also acknowledge the rest of the cast as the victims of Weinstein’s abuse, including Jennifer Ehle as Laura Madden, Samantha Morton as Zelda Perkins, and even Ashley Judd as herself. All of them were great in portraying the authenticity of the characters’ emotional states.
Overall, “She Said” is a compelling and thought-provoking representation of the story that sparked the movement. Through its strong direction, screenplay, and cast, the film delivers an honest and highly engaging tribute to the courageous women who stood up against the corrupt system and the rich dirtbags running it. It’s another movie that can be uncomfortable for people who experienced the events themselves. However, it’s also an important lesson to learn to make changes for the better. Not just for us but also the other industries themselves. If they want to continue making money and providing jobs, they must take the accusations seriously instead of ignoring them. That’s the only advice I can give them based on the movie. If you’re a fan of dramas involving journalism, this film is worth checking out.