REVIEW: ‘She Said’ tells an important story in good fashion

The Newspaper of Record is a publication not without its faults, but the rigorous work at the New York Times that launched the Me Too Movement was absolutely commendable.

That effort is dramatized in “She Said,” which follows Times journalists Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan), as well as other staff members digging into sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Their work followed the inauguration of President Donald Trump, with the Times planning to investigate more assault allegations beyond the world of politics.

After getting a lead about allegations in Hollywood, Kantor and Twohey begin working the story and soon find out there’s much more abuse than what was first expected. The movie then follows their efforts to gather legal documents and talk to the many victims.

Kantor and Twohey did relentless work in tracking down victims to speak with and acquiring documents that revealed the amount of settlements pushed on women by the studio Miramax. It’s the type of reporting that takes months of data gathering and hitting the pavement to find people willing to go on the record. All of that is brought to life here.

Their tenacity to get the story done, despite a plethora of roadblocks in the form of non-disclosure agreements and intimidation is admirable, and watching it unfold really draws an audience in. It’s an inspiring effort and a viewer rejoices whenever they make progress.

However, it is also true that “She Said” is very much a procedural film, following a straightforward investigation from the start to a very polished finish. It doesn’t transcend the sub-genre the way “All the President’s Men” or “Spotlight” did.

SheSaidBlog
Courtesy Annapurna Pictures, Plan B Entertainment, Universal Pictures

There are also some moments of “She Said” that feel either a bit too on the nose or can seem patronizing. Segments of dialogue that are too self-aware or long shots of The New York Times building that come across like an advertisement can take a person out of a scene.

Despite the movie’s narrative structure being on the more simplistic side and a lack of subtlety in a few parts, “She Said” still succeeds overall. One can’t help but be hooked in from start to finish as the journalists keep hammering away at leads, and keep coming back whenever a door closes in front of them.

Both Mulligan and Kazan were really strong on screen, too. Mulligan notably portrays her character’s drive to get the job done, despite having skepticism of whether much will change even with the reporting well. Kazan, meanwhile, gets across Jodi’s belief that getting the truth published is important and her dedication to make that happen.

Director Maria Schrader also wisely explored both characters as mothers of young daughters. Those scenes, nicely acted by Mulligan and Kazan, capture the difficulty these women go through in raising girls during a time when blatant misogyny is being broadcast.

“She Said” is a competently made picture with a cast doing respectable work that tells an important story. While the film isn’t the most artistically striking and the writing could have been sharper, it’s still a strong entry in the 2022 cinematic library. 4 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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