A film by director Maria Schrader, that follows an investigation by two New York Times’ reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor. With screenwriters using their book “She Said” as inspiration, the film follows Twohey and Kantor’s investigative journalism as they explore Miramax and Harvey Weinstein, and ultimately what launched the #MeToo movement.
Undoubtedly, I’m sure you’ve been acquainted with the #MeToo movement which was a social movement by way of use of the #MeToo hashtag coined against sexual abuse, sexual harrassment and rape culture which grew in popularity and use after the numerous sexual-abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein in late 2017.
The story destroyed over decades of silence and systemic abuse and catapulted a movement created to protect women and amplify their voice around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood and shifted the paradigm away from men in positions of power being able to coerce and exploit young women due to their inherent power dynamic.
Generally, movies that take inspiration from true events have a tendency to be predictable (as we know what has happened by virtue of media and news coverage), and oftentimes take several creative liberties which transcend the factual bases of what happened. Many movies and shows of the true-crime genre are also guilty of the exaggeration and glorification of such events and provide a gruesome depiction of any abuse.
“She Said” is not one of them.
Despite being a recount of real events, “She Said” is gripping and captivating from the very first moment. Carey Mulligan portrays Twohey and Zoe Kazan plays Jodi Kantor, with features from real actresses and survivors who spoke out against Weinstein such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Ashley Judd to name a few.
The film starts with Twohey exploring sexual assault claims against Trump (prior to his election as president, and her discontent at him being elected despite her exposė), and develops into her working with Kantor who was simultaneously investigating allegations of sexual abuse and violence Miramax. Their dynamic is fun to watch, in a cute, off-beat friendship type of way but with certain scenes that also reflect their dissatisfaction with the way women in general are sexualised, marginalised and their experiences of abuse minimised if not completely diminished.
This movie is a great watch for a multitude of reasons. Its lack of sensationalised storytelling and accuracy to true events is by far one of the most compelling features of the film. Taking severe inspiration and dialogue from Twohey and Kantor’s book by the same name, this movie is a well told story. In particular, this movie acts as a service to women with the accounts of abuse retold without any horrifying creative liberties or spine-chilling scenes but instead in a respectful way.
The film doesn’t provide an ostentatious story as it really is a tale about how investigative journalism, hard work and consistency (despite being shut down or told to look away several times) can take down an archaic system and an extremely powerful producer.
If you’re in the mood for an educational and empowering watch, I highly recommend you watch this film in cinemas now, as it really shows how meaningful these women coming forward was and how magnifying women’s voices where they had been previously silenced has had an altering impact on the world.