The reporting of the sexual abuse allegations against the disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, is one of the biggest news stories of the last few years. It led to his ousting from Hollywood and triggered a worldwide movement, where many spoke up about their own experiences of sexual harassment and abuse.
Maria Schraders’ adaptation of the book ‘She Said’, written by the New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, explores their journey in breaking this story.
Much like Spotlight, it’s a hard-hitting but powerful story about getting others to break decades of silence to finally speak their truth, which is strengthened by the terrific performances from its wonderful cast.
Schrader’s direction wisely allows the story to take centre stage, not focusing too much on the camera work but it’s clear that she knows the importance of this story and letting the actors showcase the material.
The film makes it clear that the focus is not on Weinstein himself, but allowing the victims stories to be heard and showing the hard work that the reporters did in bringing the truth to light.
Early in the film, we see Megan Twohey reporting on the misconduct allegations made against then presidential candidate Donald Trump, where we see the backlash that one accuser faces after going on the record with their story.
This establishes how scary it is for these women to speak up about their own experiences of abuse and the consequences they may face. You understand why Jodi and Megan struggled to get other women to go on the record about Weinstein throughout the film.
The film shows to be respectful towards the womens’ stories, by not showing reenactments of assault and misconduct but to just listen to them speak their truth.
One scene sees Jodi Kantor interviewing Weinstein’s former assistant Zelda Perkins (played chillingly by Samantha Morton), as she describes his monstrous behaviour and how she was forced into signing a NDA after trying to take legal action against him after he assaulted a former colleague.
Hearing their experiences and how they were forced to keep quiet is truly haunting, but knowing the outcome of this story, you know how important it was for them to speak out.
Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan both give fantastic performances as Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor respectively. They command every scene, as you watch them tirelessly pursue the story with great dedication and it was nice to get a glimpse of their personal lives as they balance their work with motherhood and postpartum depression.
Standout performances come from Samantha Morton, Jennifer Ehle and Ashley Judd (appearing as herself), as the brave women who speak about their experiences. Their scenes are incredibly moving, as you hear their harrowing stories and see how they feel conflicted over their decision to go on the record.
She Said is a gripping film about a groundbreaking news story with sharp performances that’s not to be missed.
Purple Revolver Rating: 4/5 – A powerful search for the truth.