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She Said (2022)

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.
4.5 / 5
5.0 / 5

Incluvie Movie Reviews

Atreyo Palit
November 18, 2022
4.5 / 5
5 / 5

This Is Not His Story, This Is What 'She Said'

The year is 1992. A period film is being shot at an Irish beach. A young woman walking along the beach halts to watch the production with a smile on her face. She approaches closer and we see her interact with a few crew members. A sudden cut to a street in Ireland shows the same woman crying, running down the street, clutching her belongings. Later revealed to be the first woman to speak on the record against the then-famed, now-hated Hollywood producer Mr. Harvey Weinstein (played by Mike Houston), these two scenes of Lola Petticrew as a young Laura Madden introduce us to the world of director Maria Schrader’s latest film She Said.

She Said is a film based on the book of the same name written by New York Times investigative reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning article about Harvey Weinstein’s pattern of misconduct towards women. It stars Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan as the two reporters respectively and Patricia Clarkson as the team’s editor, Rebecca Corbett. The New York Times’ executive director from 2017, Dean Baquet, is played by Andre Braugher and a brilliant Jennifer Ehle appears as the adult Laura Madden. After the emotional opener, She Said takes a bit of a confusing path to arrive at the beginning of the actual story. It depicts Twohey on a phone call with Donald Trump after she’s published a piece about sexual harassment allegations against him. It then cuts to her being jaded by the fact that he is elected anyway. Soon after, we’re seeing her pregnant and giving birth. We don’t really see Jodi in action until around this time, when we see the New York Times employers huddled around a TV, watching Bill O’Reilly being forced out of Fox News for sexual misconduct. Next, we see Dean and Rebecca tell a room full of journalists to look for more stories on workplace sexual harassment.

It’s soon after when Kantor introduces Rebecca to a possible story about Rose McGowan claiming Harvey Weinstein harassed her that the film’s plot really starts developing. Once we get there though, the ball keeps rolling and never slows down till the end credits start rolling. It’s like a “buckle your seatbelts” moment because despite being a dialogue-heavy and minimalist independent film, She Said feels like a thriller. We follow a couple of hardworking and passionate reporters who talk to many scared and scarred women, trying to find a source who is willing to take a public stance against the biggest name in Hollywood. It’s an underdog story at its core, but also one rooted in social reform. Megan and Jodi’s work spearheaded a rebellion of sorts that culminated in the #MeToo movement.  For those who don’t know the full story, the film is even more fun to watch because it takes time to trace the development of the story from a whisper about Harvey to a collective testament of his pattern of behavior.

Screenwriter Rebecca Lenkiewicz worked closely with Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey, and Rebecca Corbett to create a taut and thrilling narrative. It’s not very dramatized, quite like the Academy Award for Screenwriting-winning journalism dramas Spotlight and All the President’s Men. None of these films prioritize thrill over realism and yet, feel like thrillers. There is a real-life rush of uncovering a dark plot and giving a voice to the wrongfully silenced. There is also the fear of discovery and the concern for the consequences of publishing “heretic” claims that define such narratives. Even if we know Megan and Jodi’s work eventually led to Harvey’s arrest, She Said doesn’t let us relax just because the story's outcome is positive. It takes us through the nerve-wracking journey of the women involved, that is the reporters as well as the victims/sources (whistleblower has a negative connotation that I refuse to attach to the respectable and brave work these women did).

She Said doesn’t beat around the bush with intentions beyond telling the story at the center of its narrative. Instead of going deep into the personal drama in the lives of the people involved, it stays razor-focused on the destination of its story, which is the eventual publication of the article written by Jodi and Megan. And yet, that never seems to create a sense of detachment. The emotional thread is very well-woven into the tight narrative. Even if it mainly just involves conversations between the involved women or between the reporters and those who want to deter them from pursuing their investigation, the storytelling itself is emotionally driven. The plot points feel more like stepping stones toward emotional catharsis than narrative checkpoints.

Of course, She Said recounts the scarring incidents of Harvey’s misconduct and sexual abuse, but it does so with the utmost respect for his victims. Firstly, there are no dramatic or visual re-enactments of the sexual abuse stories. One noteworthy scene involves the camera panning through the corridors of the infamous Peninsula hotel while an actual audio recording of a conversation between Harvey and model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez plays in the background. After she’d made a report against him claiming Harvey had groped her at his Tribeca office, New York Police had sent her wearing a wire to her next meeting with Harvey. The audio from that confrontation can be heard in the aforementioned scene. Another laudable instance is when Laura Madden (Jennifer Ehle) describes her experience with Harvey to Jodi Kantor. Her words play as a voiceover while the screen floods with stills of a hotel room. There’s some minimal camera movement too, but the scenes are composed entirely of visuals of inanimate objects in their own state of disarray which complements Madden’s words. Jennifer’s haunting voice is more than enough to make you feel her character’s trauma.

She Said also deserves appreciation for the way it treats the other women who spoke with the reporters but didn’t or couldn’t go on the record. Instead of portraying them as weak, the film depicts them as willing but scared. All of them have passionate reactions when asked about their experiences with Harvey, which tells you they do care and want to take the man down, but are either legally bound by NDAs or afraid for their careers. It’s in those moments that their personalities get established. Just a few seconds of reaction and you feel the depth of fear that Harvey’s stature gave these women. Be it Samantha Morton as Zelda Perkins or Angela Yeoh as Rowena Chiu, all the performers empathetically portray the women, giving them agency even in their fear.

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Movie Information

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.

Genre:Drama, History
Directed By:Maria Schrader
Written By:Rebecca Lenkiewicz
In Theaters:11/18/2022
Box Office:$13,900,000
Runtime:129 minutes
Studio:Plan B Entertainment, Annapurna Pictures, Universal Pictures, dentsu



Maria Schrader



Zoe Kazan

Jodi Kantor


Carey Mulligan

Megan Twohey


Patricia Clarkson

Rebecca Corbett


Andre Braugher

Dean Baquet


Jennifer Ehle

Laura Madden


Samantha Morton

Zelda Perkins


Ashley Judd



Zach Grenier

Irwin Reiter


Peter Friedman

Lanny Davis


Tom Pelphrey

Vadim Rutman


Frank Wood

Matt Purdy