New Written Review from Mike Crowley on You’ll Probably Agree: ‘She Said’ Delicately Balances A Sensitive Topic

Following in the footsteps of All The President’s MenShe Said is the most tasteful possible way to make the Weinstein movie. We all knew it was going to be made. Whether or not it would be exploitive or earnest was up for grabs. There’s likely an LMN version of the Weinstein scandal with an actor playing an SNL impersonation of the abuser. That’s not to say She Said doesn’t have its moments of actors portraying real people, yet it’s done tastefully. 

Yes, Harvey Weinstein is in the movie, but his face is framed out of the picture, where only his voice is discernible. Mostly we hear Harvey through a telephone. Mike Houston, who plays Harvey, does an incredible job capturing Weinstein’s deep yet nasally vernacular. Mr. Houston can be played against the real thing without any noticeable differences. The infamous hotel tape plays as an interlude to the film’s second act crossing the real Harvey’s voice with Mike’s almost seamlessly. 

She Said is repugnant at times. As the tape of Harvey plays, long shots of the hotel where the incident happened are framed with a wide lens pushing in on the walls, similar to The Shining’s Overlook Hotel. Director Maria Schrader places a clever misdirection when we meet the first of our two protagonists. Megan Twohey (Carrie Mulligan) is speaking with her editors about a sexual predator, thus fooling the audience into thinking she’s referring to Weinstein. The culprit is Donald Trump. Circa 2016, Donald Trump was accused of fondling women during his beauty pageants. With the Access Hollywood tape and countless sexual harassment suites, Trump’s chances of victory seemed dead in the water. But then he won, giving a nationwide middle finger to all victims of sexual misconduct. 

Trump’s election becomes a motivation for Megan to pursue Weinstein. After the nation let a predator become the President, the idea of ceasing another powerful monster seems fruitless. Enter our second protagonist, Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan). Jodi has a history of holding predators accountable and getting results. With Jodie’s determination, Megan decides to take on the story. 

To ensure the attention to detail is accurate, She Said brings its real-life journalists on board as the screenwriters to tell their story. Most journalism movies feature a cast entirely comprised of actors portraying a character. A majority of the actors in She Said are seasoned actors doing their classically trained jobs. But there is a surprise featuring Ashley Judd playing herself.

Despite this attention to detail, the journalism film can be a bit of an overplayed category. Many of its conventions are more predictable than compelling drama. Watching characters speak on the phone endlessly or asking for a quote can get redundant. Nevertheless, a story featuring such delicate subject matter is best depicted in this category. 

Through the journalist, we can get personal with the victims yet withdraw from graphical theatrics. It’s the words of the victims that necessitate the story. It’s not just facts but names that matter. Ranging from Rose McGowan to Lauren O’Connor, a name means more than a number. 

Weinstein’s case is much more personal to the journalists than something like Watergate. Our heroes are harassed when pursuing Harvey. For their coverage, both women are threatened. When not directly through Weinstein or Trump’s people, then through the average everyday dirtbag who wants to score at the local bar. Weinstein, like Trump, is the personification of masculine dominance. A woman can be treated as the gluttonous emperor pleases with no repercussions. It’s a persona anyone with open eyes can see in various toxic workplaces. Neutralizing Harvey Weinstein’s career was a pivotal moment in shifting workplace ethics. However, it’s only a stepping stone within an ocean.  

Exposing Weinstein gives our heroes peace of mind, yet the war will rage on. Thematically the film plays every beat from Spotlight to The Post before it. The editorials are predictable. One character meets another character who displays a shocking revelation. Said character doesn’t want to give their name until the nail-biting victorious last second. The villain goes down, and the text displays an epilogue. It’s a structure that works. If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it. At times, conventionality can be beneficial based on the subject it depicts. 

The editorial, let’s call it, is the safest and smartest route to take when dramatizing Weinstein. The film plays things very much to the beat, where one could guess what actions would lead next. Still, this is a film insistent upon facts over grandiosity. Given the real-life journalist’s involvement as screenwriters and the inclusion of Ashley Judd, the picture seems earnest in its message. She Said isn’t a spectacular film but a tasteful effort chronicling an infamous case. 

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