Andrea’s Angle | “She Said” – Powerful Performances
First and foremost, as a woman, I wanted to see the dramatic presentation of this story. I hoped that it would be as compelling as the New York Times article and do justice to the investigators. I also was excited to see Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan, having been impressed with their performances in other films. After seeing the film, not only do both actresses give powerful performances with an emotional story, but they are backed up by an incredible cast of supporting characters. While the story has been told in other formats, the dramatization is worth seeing.
She Said is a biographical drama directed by Maria Schrader from a screenplay by Rebecca Lenkiewicz. It is the story of the investigation by the New York Times that exposed Harvey Weinstein’s history of abuse and sexual misconduct against women that was led by Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan), Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan), and Rebecca Corbett (Patricia Clarkson), using the article and the book of the same name chronicling the investigation by Kantor and Twohey. The film also stars Andre Braugher, Jennifer Ehle, and Samantha Morton in supporting roles, and Ashley Judd appears as herself. The film follows Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey as they begin investigating, building their sources and information to the moment they publish the pivotal article.
What makes this film so powerful and emotional is the stories it ties together. It begins with how and why Jodi Kantor began putting the story together, but as she pieces together her sources, she and Megan Twohey learn about a systemic abuse cycle that stretches back three decades. It is the stories the women tell them and their fear of coming forward, the fear of reprisal or the knowledge that people knew but did nothing that causes the drama to be so gripping. The reason is that it is true, and these women lived with fear, shame, and silence for decades. There was a system in place to silence every woman that was abused and make the abuser’s life easier. Weaving together those narratives builds the drama in the film, and even knowing that this was published does not detract from the powerful emotion of the story.
While it is a dramatization, the audience follows the investigators as they chase down their leads and sources, as they confront those who knew about the abuse, and speak with the women silenced. What makes this so emotional is getting to see those women find their voice in this film. Even if the performances are by actresses, for the most part, it shines a spotlight on what happened and grant us a chance to hear from some of the women impacted.
While the story is fairly straightforward following the investigation, the film does a fantastic job of showing us both investigators and their lives, painting a picture of how the investigation impacted them emotionally, how they lived with the emotional toll day to day, and why each of them pursued the story. While fictional, the film provides compelling evidence as to what was important to both women and the staff surrounding them.
The performances are phenomenal. Carey Mulligan is fierce and emotional as Megan Twohey, and Zoe Kazan as Jodi Kantor is incredibly powerful. The chemistry of the two together is amazing but so too are their interactions with the supporting cast, including the men who play the women’s spouses. I especially love Zoe Kazan and her rapport with the young woman playing her daughter. I also loved the performances by Patricia Clarkson and Andre Braugher, both strong performers that highlight what an exceptional cast was gathered for this film. Jennifer Ehle, as Laura Madden, gave an emotional performance.
The only detraction of the film’s quality is that it begins with a scene focused on one of the women who we eventually find out was one of Harvey Weinstein’s victims. However, the film doesn’t give us that connection until more than halfway through the film. While that scene becomes integral to the story, it is hard to connect it with the bigger picture, and the film starts at a slower pace. However, as the film progresses, the narrative does pick up, and the ending is as dramatic as you could wish.
If you love biographical films, if you’re interested in the history of the #MeToo Movement, or if you believe in human rights, this might be a film you’d want to see. It is gripping, emotional, and dramatic as it shows the investigation of Harvey Weinstein and led to the discovery of decades of systemic abuse. As a woman, I would have wanted to watch this film. It is also a slice of recent history that has been pivotal in causing a change in our society, and if women don’t want to be silenced, it is important to remember. I really recommend watching this film for both the emotion and the historical significance.
Rating: 4.5 sources out of 5.
Official Website: She Said | Trailer & Movie Site | In Theaters Friday
Two-time Academy Award® nominee Carey Mulligan (PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, AN EDUCATION) and Zoe Kazan (THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA, THE BIG SICK) star as New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, who together broke one of the most important stories in a generation— a story that shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood and altered American culture forever.
From the Academy Award® winning producers of 12 YEARS A SLAVE, MOONLIGHT, MINARI, SELMA AND THE BIG SHORT and the Oscar®-nominated producer of ZERO DARK THIRTY and AMERICAN HUSTLE, the film is based on the New York Times investigation by Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey and Rebecca Corbett and the New York Times bestseller, SHE SAID: BREAKING THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT STORY THAT HELPED IGNITE A MOVEMENT by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey.
SHE SAID comes out in theaters on Friday, November 18, 2022.
ONE-LINER: New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor break one of the most important stories in a generation — a story that helped launch the #MeToo movement and shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood.