Movie Review: ‘She Said’

By: 
John Thomas
CAREY MULLIGAN, left, and Zoe Kazan as reporters trying to persuade women to talk about sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein.

If one already knows how a story ends, why bother to read the book or see the movie? One reason might be that there are many interesting details that might not have been previously known. Another reason might be that the story’s end may have evolved over a long period of time can now be viewed in the length of a movie.

In 2017 New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan0) receives a tip that a prominent movie studio head had sexually assaulted the actress Rose McGowan.

It is a potential story Jodi needs to investigate. McGowan first declines to comment but later changes her mind and contacts Jodi. Rose describes how Miramax Studio’s head, Harvey Weinstein, raped her when she was 23.

Jodi also has contacts with actors Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow who tell of sexual encounters forced upon them by Weinstein. If Jodi uses this information in an article, the women do not wish their names to be mentioned. Conferring with her boss, Rebecca Corbett (Patricia Clarkson), the two decide that this could be a larger story than they had initially felt. Jodi needs some help, so enlists the investigative skills of her colleague, Megan Towhey (Carey Mulligan).

Both women have families they care about and loving understanding husbands. Lucky for both of them, as their exposure of the ugly atrocities linked to Weinstein and one of his buddies, Donald Trump, will require much of their time and effort. Former and current employees of Miramax hear of the Times investigation into their boss’s criminal behavior and are interviewed by Jodi and Megan. For fear of reprisals or loss of their jobs they, too, are willing to be quoted but not named.

Now Rebecca’s superior and lawyers for the Times gather to plan their strategies for the pending article. It’s only a matter of time until Weinstein hears of the Times article exposing his sexual practices.

He sends his attorneys to confer with Jodi and Megan, reminding them that in the past, anyone filing complaints against his boss have been financially compensated – with a no disclosure clause. He declines to mention how many complaints there are.

An anonymous tip to Jodi and Megan suggests they contact one of Weinstein’s former accountants. The man reluctantly shows them a Miramax internal memo dating back to 2015 detailing allegations from former employees.

The Times now has enough evidence to publish its article but first would like a statement from Weinstein. He denies the allegations and demands the reporters name their sources. Eventually, however, he acknowledges that he has caused pain to others and is taking a leave of absence from Miramax. This may be the closure to one part of the issue, but it’s also the beginning of a far greater one.

Directed by Maria Schroeder (Credits: I’m Your Man, Love Life), She Said runs 129’ and is as “should see” for insight into the year long development of the New York Times story published on October 5, 2017 – a story that changed the world.

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