‘She Said’ NYFF Review: Maria Schrader Film Chronicles Two Women On The Hunt For The Truth

Maria Schrader’s She Said written by Rebecca Lenkiewicz based on a book by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey of the same name, and starring Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as the two New York Times reporters who uncovered a web of secrets, lies, and abuse revolving around famed Hollywood producer (and now convicted felon), Harvey Weinstein.

Megan Twohey (Mulligan), a reporter from the New York Times is talks to Rachel Crooks who wants to come forward on the abuse she experienced at the hands of Donald Trump. Of course the reporter and the Crooks are harassed with death threats after going public. When he wins the Presidential election, women were even more terrified to come forward with personal stories about public figures. Also at the NYT, Jodi Kantor (Kazan) gets a lead on a story involving Harvey Weinstein and his past behavior toward women. She heard Rose Mcgowan had an encounter with him, but when Kantor contacted the actress, she doesn’t want to go on the record–and for good reason as the Times had previously been dismissive of her.

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With Kantor wanting to dig deeper, she asks Twohey for help in breaking the story against Miramax (Weinstein’s production company), and his history of workplace misconduct. Both women are mothers now have to navigate this while trying to raise families. Kantor is having a hard time getting anyone to go on the record, but Twohey gives the young journalist some perspective on how to get women to open up a bit more. “I can’t change what happened to you, but together we can use your experience to help protect others,” she says. The odds start to improve when speaks with Ashley Judd, and the duo go down a rabbit hole of coverups, and corruption that spans decades.

Kantor and Twohey were the brave souls to take on the task of tracking down evidence, corroborating it, getting around NDAS, and traveling the world to complete this story. The duo balances each other out via their work ethics and tactics. Twohey uses more aggressive tactics to get answers, while Kantor is nurturing and reserved. This is a testament to the all-star talent featured in She Said. Carrie Mulligan is so strong and confident in this role. She is committed, and most of all, she believes in the material. The actress has repeatedly defended women in the media, so there is no surprise the actress would be a part of a project like this. At the heart of the film is Zoe Kazan, who seemed to be a weak spot in the story at first, but as the film soldiers on, she pulls through to deliver an emotional performance. There is also a strong ensemble cast with Andre Braugher, Ashley Judd, Patricia Clarkson, Jennifer Ehle, and Samantha Morton, who is riveting in her ten minutes of screen time and has the most significant impact on the film. 

She Said isn’t just a film about building a case against Weinstein, but it’s also about newsroom culture and the logistical steps needed to craft a game-changing investigative report. The script frames the profession as mentally taxing and unglamorous, far from how Hollywood typically portrays journalists in New York City. The deception, however, is the editing makes it seem like things came together quickly. That could be due to Hansjörg Weißbrich’s crude and abrupt editing that pushes the story through until the end. Sometimes a little too fast.

Actresses, producers, assistants, and various women were blackballed and/or scared into silence with payoffs and NDAs. There was an air of complicity and intimidation around Weinstein and his atrocious behavior. She Said goes through the excruciating details of sexual assault and harassment committed by Weinstein. The film plays the entire voice recording between Weinstein and model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez and has plenty of other triggering moments. The law, their peers, and the media failed these people. Many tried to speak up but were ignored each time. These women were left traumatized and feeling isolated without anyone to turn to. 

It does beg the question though

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