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She Said ★★★★★



Director: Maria Schrader

Cast: Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Jennifer Ehle

Release: November 25, 2022 (UK)

In 2017, journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey published a report in the New York Times containing sexual allegations against Harvey Weinstein. The exposé not only uncovered decades of sexual misconduct but a systemic network of abusive behaviour – causing scores of women, not only actresses but former Miramax employees, to come forward against him. This resulted in his incarceration and initiated a global shift against other powerful figures in the film industry, as well as the #MeToo movement. Five years later, I’m Your Man director Maria Schrader is bringing Kantor and Twohey’s journey to the big screen.

Based on the journalists’ eponymous 2019 book, She Said follows Kantor (Zoe Kazan) and Twohey (Mulligan) as they seek to uncover Weinstein’s history of sexual abuse. Their work follows the New York Times report on Bill O’Reilly, which resulted in his dismissal from the Fox Network. The newspaper’s success sows the seeds for additional instances of sexual harassment in the workplace, leading Kantor to investigate old police reports related to Weinstein. What she slowly discovers, with the help of Twohey, is a trail of breadcrumbs that become increasingly alarming.

In certain parts, She Said comes across as formulaic and slow-burning. Kantor and Twohey run into multiple obstacles throughout their investigation, such as a lack of collaboration and evidence. Meanwhile, Kantor feels the strain of being away from her young children in pursuit of a lead and Twohey struggles between her young baby and her work, especially as her own sexual misconduct exposé against Donald Trump in 2016 attracted negative attention and even death threats. However, this only feeds the fact that there is a system in place that protects powerful men – and God forbid any woman that speaks out against them.

She Said Movie Review

Throughout the film, there is a sensitivity towards Weinstein’s victims, and Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s bold screenplay conveys the emotional turmoil of each character. They bear the weight of their own experiences and have had little to no closure, so their reactions to being approached by the press naturally sway towards anger or disbelief (due to the lack of legal support). She Said’s strongest moments, however, are laced with fear about going against one of the most influential figures in the entertainment industry. There are occasional moments that hint at the covert intimidation of both the victims and reporters, but Schrader doesn’t try to diminish the former’s trauma; she reinforces it with recordings and intimate conversations where every victim is given the time to say their piece – however harsh it may be – without coercion or judgement. Even the inclusion of Ashley Judd, one of Weinstein’s most prolific accusers, among the cast is a testament to her support for not only the film but the original New York Times article.

From the compassionate Kantor and the dedicated Twohey, Kazan and Mulligan’s respective performances highlight the characters’ relentlessness and professionalism, while supporting roles from Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Samantha Morton, and Jennifer Ehle strengthen the reporters’ conviction. The narrative thankfully does not paint them as workaholics, which may have led to unnecessary drama. Instead, there is a sense of normalcy within their journalists’ lives, so the narrative doesn’t delve into melodrama caused by strained family relationships. As a result, She Said retains its focus on the exposé and the monumental efforts of the reporters and the victims involved into a groundbreaking piece of modern investigative journalism. 

A formidable, female-led production, She Said is not a sob story; it’s about the pursuit of the truth while giving women a voice when they believed (or still believe) they cannot. Thanks to its compelling performances, sensitive dialogue and Nicholas Britell’s haunting score, it is an outstanding yet respectful feature that speaks – nay, yells – volumes.

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