She Said Review

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For nearly twenty-five years, an awards season didn’t go by without Harvey Weinstein’s name coming up. She Said brings Weinstein’s name back into the conversation, but for entirely different reasons. Some might call it hypocritical for an industry that enabled Weinstein’s behavior to make a movie about his downfall. However, the story behind Weinstein’s undoing is too fascinating and important not to be discussed on a cinematic scale. What matters is that this true story is entrusted to capable filmmakers and performers. She Said does right by the source material, ranking among the best modern movies about journalism.

We all know what happens to Weinstein, but She Said focuses on the crucial article that revealed his crimes to a mass audience. Zoe Kazan has been one of our most underappreciated actresses since proving her leading lady chops in Ruby Sparks. She delivers one of her most powerful yet understated performances as Jodi Kantor, a journalist who helped chronicle Weinstein’s history of abuse. Carey Mulligan is equally effective as Megan Twohey, who previously investigated Donald Trump’s sexual misconduct. Twohey’s efforts didn’t prevent Trump from claiming the presidency. As Kantor and Twohey reach out to Weinstein’s victims, the truth may fall on deaf ears again.

Mike Houston provides Weinstein’s voice and serves as a body double, but the film never shows him fully onscreen. Ashley Judd does make an appearance as herself, however. Although this could’ve been too on the nose, Judd gives a sincere portrayal that speaks from the heart. Reflecting on how she spoke out against Weinstein before, Judd tells Kantor that she’d do it all over again, but she’d also like to work. Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s riveting screenplay is full of poignant and honest lines like this. A lesser screenplay would’ve given Kantor or Twohey a lengthy monologue on abuse stating the obvious. Instead, Lenkiewicz’s script provides a platform for Weinstein’s victims, allowing them to share their stories. All the while, the journalists try to stay composed as they listen to the atrocities committed

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Acting is reacting. The subtle performances from Kazan and Mulligan demonstrate why. There’s an especially haunting scene where Kantor’s young daughter asks if the women she’s been interviewing were raped. It’d be one thing if her daughter asked what rape was. The fact that her daughter is familiar with the term and uses it so casually leaves Kantor shaken, although she does her best to conceal it. For such a dialogue-heavy film, She Said often says the most with the slightest gestures. Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, and Samantha Morton bring the same nuance to an exceptional supporting cast.

Director Maria Schrader won an Emmy for her work on Unorthodox, one of recent memory’s most unsettling and eye-opening miniseries. With She Said, she’s crafted a film worthy of comparison to Spotlight or All the President’s Men. Like those films, She Said never feels like a dramatization of real-world events. It’s a frank depiction that avoids clichés and manipulation tactics. The film not only captures a crucial moment in the #MeToo movement, but it’s essential viewing for anyone considering a career in investigative journalism. She Said is about what happens behind the scenes. Seeing the work that went into writing that first exposé is every bit as gripping as reading the article itself.

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About Nick Spake

Nick Spake has been working as an entertainment writer for the past ten years, but he's been a lover of film ever since seeing the opening sequence of The Lion King. Movies are more than just escapism to Nick, they're a crucial part of our society that shape who we are. He now serves as the Features Editor at Flickreel and author of its regular column, 'Nick Flicks'.

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