Director: Maria Schrader
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Morton
Runtime: 2 hrs 9 mins
Rating: NC16 (Mature Content)
Released By: UIP
Opening Day: 24 November 2022
Synopsis: 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. A testament to the power of investigative journalism, She Said details the journey of reporters and editors engaged in the unrelenting pursuit of the truth and highlights the courage of survivors and witnesses who chose to come forward to stop a serial predator in his tracks. Together, their commitment and fortitude sparked a national conversation, helped propel the #MeToo movement, and fueled a reckoning of the system that had enabled him.
Based on The New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation and best-selling book, She Said features the struggle to get victims to go on the record, as the theatrical poster advocates.
This journalistic backstory follows two New York Times reporters conducting investigations on claims of sexual misconduct against a notable producer who reigned as a mogul in the film industry for over three decades (Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare In Love, Malèna, Lord of the Rings).
With crisp cinematography, this intriguing chronicle co-produced by Brad Pitt touches on a system that protects sexually pervasive abusers who are fond of binding women with confidentially clause, out-of-court monetary settlements or awful death threats and blackballing their promising careers.
Besides just whipping out their silencing card, these crooks work extra hard at sweeping their dirty acts under the rug and choose settlements over litigation. While very few women decide to break the silence, countless of them prefer treating it as just a nightmare and forget about it in the fear of getting cancelled and being branded as attention-seeking liars. In order to ride out this wave of legalistic bullying, these two reporters who work behind the scenes need names for the sake of credibility and coax victims to speak up. But will the affected parties be finally willing to go on the record? And will the two reporters’ unparalleled determination ultimately pay off, leading to a published story that would later catapult an epic movement onto everyone’s radar? Or would this be just another failed attempted to bring down the perpetrator?
Director Maria Schrader apparently isn’t a fan of cutting any corners and follows each and every beat of the story. Schrader’s commitment to every minute details of modern reporting manages to strip the usual glamour of Hollywood’s portrayal of journalists that viewers are accustomed to.
Being an Oscar material, Carey Mulligan starring in a role like this after her most recent amazing performance in Promising Young Woman feels elegiac. And pairing with award- winning actress, playwright and screenwriter, Zoe Kazan’s rendition of Jodi Kantor is what redeems this biological drama. Stellar performances by the duo allow enough creative room for She Said to play out like a real life drama, drawing the audiences into the magnitude of the film.
This expertly acted movie that features a background of Donald Trump’s election as American’s president isn’t just about exposing the unsuspecting wolves in sheep’s clothing at workplaces. It successfully highlights the role of journalism by taking viewers behind the tabloid headlines and celebrates women who stop at nothing to get their stories heard. The fact that this film that carries a very important message to convey, doesn’t rule out Weinstein as the sole villain is what sets the movie apart from other films that feature triggering sexual abuse as its focal point.
Also, get ready to be hit by a tidal wave of typical elements of a by women, for women movie. And that includes pregnancy, young children, mastectomy, fuzzy cuddles, emotional support systems, extremely supportive husbands who have compassion for their wives juggling home, careers and a responsibility of getting the story on the decades of allegations out.
Slow burn much? Maybe! The back and forth pace of the deeply troubling yet solidly performed film may be that one little fly in this ointment that prioritises in staying true to the accuracy of the events over entertainment. But let’s be honest for a moment. For some subject matter, television is just a better choice. She Said would have been best suited for the flatscreen in your living room than the big screen at your local cinema.
(A competently narrated and empowering chronicle featuring sisterhood and solidarity that sets this “womance” number from the rest)
Review by Asha Gizelle Mariadas