Movie Review: ‘She Said’
Director: Maria Schrader
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Morton
Plot: New York Times journalists Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor begin an investigation into the sexual misconduct pf Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. In spite of the number of victims, they struggle to find people willing to speak on the record amid the culture of fear and legal threats surrounding them.
Review: We saw an MCU movie yesterday. It had explosions and car chases and people doing flips. Even with the sombre tone used to respect the passing of the franchise lead, it was a fun time. Today’s movie was not fun. It caused us to twist our fingers together in discomfort and grind our teeth in frustration. This is a deep dive into one of the most important journalistic investigations in the entertainment industry, putting a sizeable fissure in the tightly controlled system that allows men in positions of power to abuse and rape endless young women without repercussion. She Said highlights the lasting impact Harvey Weinstein’s crimes have had on his victims and those around them, not to mention the number of powerful figures involved in silencing the women who have been attacked.
Megan Twohey (Mulligan) has built a career exposing systems of abuse and had recently earned the ire of Donald Trump after publishing stories about his sexual abuses. Twohey agrees to come on board the investigation started by Jodi Kantor (Kazan) who has started looking into allegations made by actress Rose McGowan concerning misconduct by Weinstein. In spite of it being an open secret in the industry that Weinstein is a serial abuser, they struggle to find a victim willing to go on the record. Further digging reveals that almost everyone who could provide them with evidence to support their story is either silenced through legal means, or through fear and threats against their career. As the story begins to take shape, Weinstein’s lawyers and allies begin fighting back, making the need for a person to speak up all the more important.
There’s a sense of dread and paranoia throughout the film. The journalists and victims become the target of direct abuse and threats, whilst also being aware that they’re being watched. Director Schrader emphasises the risks involved in taking on a figure such as Weinstein, who has built an empire on bullying and intimidation, and how much he invests in discrediting people who may speak out against him. For the most part, Weinstein does not appear in the film, existing as a dark shadow over people’s lives and letting his own words work against him.
She Said is the best kind of journalistic thriller, a sub-genre that doesn’t come around often but carries incredible weight when it does. Much like Spotlight and All the President’s Men, She Said exposes not just the crimes, but the layers of protection in place to allow this destructive crimes to take place over and over and over again. This is a movie that wants you to understand the struggle behind exposing these powerful criminals, but cast a critical eye over your own workplaces and the ease with which such behaviours are swept under the rug or glossed over as ‘boys being boys’ or some other sickening idiom.
It’s not an enjoyable movie, but it’s an important one.
Rating: EIGHT out of TEN