There have been some top notch investigative journalism movies over the years including All the President’s Men, Spotlight and The Post, and yet, the subgenre is very difficult to do well. There is a risk that the story just is not exciting enough to handle the sometime monotonous work that is required of the investigative reporter.
Well, you can add another top level film to that list with director Maria Schrader’s new film, She Said, the story of the New York Times’ investigation into the sexual harassment and misconduct by Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein.
New York Times reporters Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan) were investigating sexual harassment when they decided to look into the rumors in Hollywood, in particular those reportedly perpetuated by Harvey Weinstein. In an effort to get justice for the group of female actors and crew members harassed by Weinstein, Twohey and Kantor went to new heights in journalism. They were not just going after Weinstein, but also the system that allowed him to cover up his numerous victims.
Of course, this was based on the novel, She Said by the real life Twohey and Kantor and this made huge entertainment news in the mid-2010s.
These journalism dramas depend heavily on their casts, and She Said had a brilliant group of actors. Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan were both outstanding, making me believe how important and powerful this story was to them. When they went after these victims, hoping beyond hope that if they could get somebody to go on the record, other victims would follow, these two journalist went around the globe in the slight hope of finding what they needed and when they did get what they wanted, the emotions felt real.
It was not just about the story for them. This was about trying to make sure that others would not continue to be victimized by this predator.
I loved the support that was given to Twohey and Kantor at the New York Times. This included characters brought to life, particularly, by Patricia Clarkson and Andre Braugher. There was a definite team feeling and they worked together on a common goal, avoiding those clichés as pressure from above to drop the story which you see many times ion these types of film.
I thought the film did an outstanding job presenting Harvey Weinstein, the character, as well. We heard his voice on the phone and, when he was on screen (played by actor Mike Houston) we never saw his face, because this movie was not about Weinstein. It was about his victims.
And we got a bunch of strong performances from the women who stepped forward to provide information or to tell their stories about how they were victimized by the producer. Angela Yeoh, Jennifer Ehle, Ashley Judd, and Samantha Morton played some of the victims in She Said.
Because of the strength of the character performances, a film that could have been slow popped most of the time. The film was outstanding at portraying the complex emotions of everybody involved and created a stirring drama.