TL;DR – Even with all the frustrating production decisions, there were still moments when it landed when it needed to.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film
Warning – Some scenes may cause distress
She Said Review –
One of the most important social movements of the early 2000s has to be the ‘Me Too’ movement. This has been a moment in time exploring and exposing the silence around sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace. Every industry has had its own reckoning, including Hollywood, which is the base for the film we are looking at today.
So to set the scene, we open with a film set on the coast of Ireland as a young woman starts a job on a film set. Hard cut to London, where the same lady is running down a London street alone with tears rolling down her face. In 2016, after an expose about misconduct failed to dent President Trump’s election Rebecca Corbett (Patricia Clarkson) of The New York Times asked her journalists to integrate all the systems that project perpetrators. Two journalists, Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan) start on the trail of a whole system supporting the abuse of a high-profile producer in Hollywood because something is rotten in the state of Miramax and Harvey Weinstein.
There is a lot about the production of this film that I found frustrating. However, I do have to say that when this film hits, it hits hard. She Said’s biggest strength was showing how it was not just a problem of singular bad actors but the whole system perpetuating the abuse through protection and silence. As well as this, the cast is clearly aware of the importance of this film, and you can feel the impact of this throughout the film, especially in those tense moments when things start falling apart.
However, unfortunately, it felt that this film desperately struggled in the edit. If I called this film disjointed, I think that would be an overly generous statement. The film suffers in the connective tissue and flow of the narrative, with scenes just happening in isolation. It is never a good thing when you can see the gears of a film moving and grinding to a halt. Thinking back to the film, it feels like, conceptionally, they struggled with how they wanted to present the film. Was it a documentary, was it a recreation, or was it a narrative? The most compelling moment in the entire movie is when they cut away from all the narrative to play the voice recording of Weinstein in a hallway, which was horrifying. It also sometimes struggles to focus the narrative on the survivor’s stories, which you need when exploring a topic like this. The third act comes together better than the rest, but that frustration is still there.
In the end, do we recommend She Said? Look. This is an important film dealing with an important topic, and when you take away all the production issues, there is a good film here. The question is, is the disjoined plot enough not to recommend it? At this point, I am not sure. If you liked She Said, we recommend The United States vs. Billie Holiday.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of She Said
Directed by – Maria Schrader
Screenplay by – Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Based on – The New York Times investigation by Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey & Rebecca Corbett and She Said by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey
Music by – Nicholas Britell
Cinematography by – Natasha Braier
Edited by – Hansjörg Weißbrich
Production/Distribution Companies – Annapurna Pictures, Plan B Entertainment & Universal Pictures
Starring – Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Morton, Ashley Judd, Sean Cullen, Angela Yeoh, Tom Pelphrey, Adam Shapiro & Anastasia Barzee with Mike Houston, James Austin Johnson & Kelly McQuail
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: 14a; Germany: na; New Zealand: na; United Kingdom: 15; United States: R