Where to stream it? Peacock
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Morton, Ashley Judd
Directed by: Maria Schrader
Intro: She Said Review
Content warning: This article mentions sexual assault. If you or someone you love needs help, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit rainn.org.
When famed Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s long history of assault and abuse first came to public awareness, it sent shockwaves through the industry that helped kickstart the #MeToo movement.
Two New York Times journalists were responsible for breaking the story, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. Now their story is dramatized in the film She Said, which is based on their 2019 book of the same name.
Actresses Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan help bring the story to life in a powerful way. She Said highlights the unflinching work of determined women as they seek the truth about a man with significant influence. It earns its spot amongst the very best films about journalists including Spotlight and All the President’s Men.
A Conspiracy of Silence
When the film begins it follows Megan Twohey (Mulligan) as she investigates accusers of former President Donald Trump ahead of the 2016 Presidential Election. Despite breaking information to the public about his alleged wrongdoing, Trump wins the Presidency and both she and the subjects she interviewed are faced with personal threats.
Some of the harshest criticism Twohey faces is from Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who then is fired from Fox News for his own sexual misconduct (which in turn, was also first reported by The New York Times). The editors of the paper then give instructions to their writers to further investigate claims of sexual misconduct in all workplaces where it might occur.
Jodi Kantor (Kazan) receives a tip that actress Rose McGowan was raped by Harvey Weinstein and is writing a book about her experiences. She sets out to look further into these claims.
Meanwhile, Twohey gives birth to a baby and deals with postpartum depression. Once she returns to work she has the opportunity to work with Jodi but wonders if their reporting really makes a difference after her experiences writing about Trump. Despite Twohey’s personal exhaustion, she teams up with Kantor to investigate Weinstein.
They are faced with the disturbing reality that accusations against Weinstein go back decades and involve as many as a dozen legal settlements. Yet despite mountains of evidence against Weinstein, no one wants to talk on record for fear of retribution.
The film follows their journey as they unpack Weinstein’s story, face their own potential blowbacks, and search for a source who is finally willing to speak on record.
Stick to the Facts
She Said is not a film that aims for melodrama. It lets the facts speak for themselves without unnecessary narrative flourish or Aaron Sorkin-esque flair.
At times it feels a bit more like a documentary than a film. The presence of Ashley Judd as herself helps add to that narrative realism. As does the on-location filming at The New York Times’ office, likely helped by pandemic-era vacancies.
Still the score by Nicholas Britell helps add a haunting punch to the film’s most emotional moments.
The movie brilliantly sets just the right tone for something with such heavy subject matter. Ultimately this is not a movie about Harvey Weinstein. The face of the actor who plays him (Mike Houston) is never even shown on camera. Nor are Weinstein’s horrific actions shown on screen, either.
This is a film that celebrates the women, and some men, who persevered in order to uncover the truth. While we do know the outcome even before the movie begins (Weinstein is serving a prison sentence for his crimes), it’s still satisfying to see a story where justice prevails.
Final Thoughts: She Said Review
Whether you stream She Said on Peacock or rent it on digital platforms, you should absolutely lend it your support. The film deserves every bit of success it can get.
There is something poetic that in the very outlets that Weinstein once reigned now the women he victimized have a voice to share their truth on film. She Said is at times maddening, at times suspenseful, but ultimately empowering. Watch this movie!