Saturday, November 19, 2022

She Said: Movie Review

In 2017 when the story of Harvey Weinstein broke and #MeToo flooded headlines, I think we all knew that the Hollywood dramatization would soon becoming. It’s finally here. She Said recounts the story of the two New York Times journalists Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan) investigating the decades of abuse by Weinstein and finally getting the ground-breaking article published.   2022

Directed by: Maria Schrader

Screenplay by: Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Based on the story by Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan

With a team of female filmmakers, the movie stays focused on the women journalists – a boots-on-the ground type journalism, talking to the women one-on-one, hoping somebody will talk on the record. The rumours had been around for decades, not even hush rumours, but wide-open rumours that nobody would confirm until Rose McGowan tweets about her story, insinuating the many others.

Jodi isn’t surprised she’s been trying to find a story of workplace sexual assault, and Megan was the journalist who wrote about Trump. At the beginning it’s mostly the famous actresses that they’re trying to talk too – Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan. That seems like a cheap way gain traction for a story way more important than just how famous some of the names are, but that’s one of the accurate portrayals in the movie. It did start with the celebrities, get some of the stories, but none of the evidence.

One of the more interesting parts of the movie is how they figure out how to get the rest of the story, not just the famous actresses. There were some smart angles taken, for instance Megan knocking on the door of the former CFO of Miramax and asking him in front of his wife about payouts made to women. From him they can get a name, and while a name inevitably leads to a scared women who can’t say anything because she signed an NDA, she gives another name.

The movie reminds me a lot of Athlete A the documentary about the Indianapolis Star reporters who broke the USA Gymnastics and Larry Nassar abuse story. That documentary was able to spend some time on how the women were treated when they tried to go forward, the threats and accusations from a society that wasn’t ready to reckon with the truth about how prevalent sexual assault is.

This movie gets to spend more time with how the silence is created in the first place, all the women who did say something or tried to say something. Multiple women did go to the police first and were often told you have no case because you have no evidence, or they file a lawsuit which is always met with some money and a signed NDA, or threats before they even get that far.

There’s a lot in here even if it does feel slow or uneventful – all the dead ends, all the people or commissions that should be helpful resources that just aren't reveal a lot about how society is built to keep these stories from getting out. There is also some silliness – a phone call from Gwyneth Paltrow who was at a party in LA and Weinstein showed up so she called Jodi saying she’s scared and Jodi starts frantically walking into traffic in New York determined to help her. That is part of the estimated 5% of the movie that screenwriter Lenkiewicz fictionalized for dramatic purposes. That nonsense doesn’t belong in the movie when the real story is good enough.

One of the Best of 2022