She Said is one of those movies that should issue a warning to the audience even before its very first scene, It’s not as though the basic plot of this fictionalized drama will be a surprise to anyone but as the determined team of NY Times journalists keeps finding one awful fact after another it sinks in how these people ……one in particular …. are actually destroying the moral values that I always thought were the bedrock of our society,
It’s easy to blame how all our values have been thrown aside and just trampled on by Trump, but the mere mention of Ghilsene Mawell (Epstein’s ‘procurer’) takes us back to 1999. That’s when her newspaper baron father Lord Maxwell committed suicide and then it turned out that he had ‘raped’ several Pension Funds that belonged to his workers and were for hundreds of millions of pounds.
The fact that ‘She Said’ is based on the book by NY reporters at the center of the revelations allowed Maria Schrader the director to copy its style and tell the story pragmatically at a well-measured pace. The only screaming was done internally by me when I realized that I really had no knowledge of the extent and reach of Weinstein’s crimes. In fact the more we heard tales of his aggressive bullying and uncontrollable temper, the more we appreciated how the Times management had kept their cool and steady determination.
The story kicks off 2016 when both Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Kantor (Zoe Kazan) are working on totally different stories when a tweet by actress Rose McGowan is the first indication that all may not be well in the world of one of Hollywood’s most powerful magnet. Now teamed up together by their very supportive editor Corbett (Patricia Clarkson) and start what will be a long haul.
This certainly does not play out as a glamorous story like All The Presidents Men as these two young journalists try to persuade a disparate group of actresses (including Ashley Judd, playing herself) and former employees to go on the record, while also tracking down the documentation (settlement agreements, letters to the board) that substantiates their claims of assault. Slowly as the pieces come together thanks to the dogged determination of Twohey and Kantor we too are realizing the sheer scale of all the abuse and the number of lives ruined
Even if the victims had wanted to share their stories they were bound to silence by the very tight Non Disclosures that Weinstein’s legal team had made them sign. Actually this very week President Biden has signed legislation curbing the use of confidentiality agreements that block victims of sexual harassment from speaking out.
In She Said the women that come forward are played by some wonderful actresses that include Jennifer Ehle, and Samantha Morton, but this is very much an ensemble piece with such a high level of pitch performance.
It’s a powerful piece that I am grateful to have seen and to have learned more about the sheer depth of what is now called the ‘Me Too’ movement. But this is not the answer or end of it : Wiseman already jailed for 25 years still has to face other Trials in London and LA.
One of the genres of movies that Queerguru does not review is ‘horror ‘ but I think after seeing this outrageous story, we’ll label this as one.
Labels: 2022, Carey Mulligan, Maria Schrader, ME Too, Patricia Clarkson, Weinstein, What She Said, Zoe Kazab, Zoey Kavan