It was inevitable that Hollywood would eventually make a movie chronicling the origins of the MeToo movement. Following in the footsteps of greats like All The Presidents Men and Spotlight, director Maria Schrader (I’m Your Man) tells Hollywood’s recent history through some of its finest practitioners.
Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan star as Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, the real-life New York Times reporters who begin to chase a lead about actress Rose McGowan being assaulted by studio executive Harvey Weinstein.
The pair chip away at the story, rapidly uncovering a history of abuse that would shock the world. The Weinstein case, and the movement that followed, still feels raw. The silent suffering so many endured remains difficult to contemplate, which in some ways gives this film a mountain to climb. Schrader follows the facts of the case methodically, watching Twohey and Kantor knock on doors, wait nervously on the end of phone calls, and connect the dots as best they can.
It’s comprehensive, although often lacks the dramatic punch that a film about an incredibly shocking culture-shifting moment requires. It’s at its best when elevating the voices of the abused, including Weinstein victim Ashley Judd playing herself. To hear their voices, and understand the fear of repercussions they face as they speak up, underlines their bravery.
Mulligan and Kazan are focused in their portrayals, showing the weight of their mission especially when contrasted with the pressures of family life. The supporting performances have more space to make an impression, however, with Samantha Morton and Jennifer Ehle both outstanding as accusers being convinced to come forward.
She Said feels as if it fears being as bold as the women it portrays, preferring a straight forward procedural to something with more verve. While tidily told by Schrader and her cast, future films about this period would do well to make it clear just what was – and still is – at stake.
She Said movie is in cinemas now
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