2016 In The New York Times, Megan Twohy (Carey Mulligan) wrote a number of articles about the indecent behavior of presidential candidate Donald Trump. The power of words this time did not become decisive: by the end of the year, the billionaire businessman won the election. Tired, but not losing faith in justice, Tui teams up with another journalist of the publication, Jodie Canton (Zoe Kazan), – she heard rumors that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was repeatedly accused of sexual harassment. Together, the young women begin looking for potential victims to make the case public.
Five years have passed since the fearlessness of dozens of women and the tenacity of journalists broke the chain of silence and forced the influential producer to stand trial. The wounds have not yet healed, the memory is fresh, the Weinstein case continues (about a month ago there was a new process) – it’s time to remember how the work on the exposure went and who is behind the start of one of the main movements of the decade. In fairness, it is worth remembering that in addition to Megan Tuhy and Jody Canton, Ronan Farrow (son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen) worked on a similar article for The New Yorker. However, Maria Schrader’s film is based on the book of the same name by journalists from The New York Times, whose investigation came out before Farrow’s text. All three received the Pulitzer Prize in 2018.
Like other films about journalism (“In the Spotlight”, “Secret Dossier”), “She Said” depicts the painstaking work of professionals in their field. Megan and Jody cling to any thread that might lead to new facts. They drop everything and rush to another country without any guarantee that the victims will be ready to talk to them. They answer phone calls at any time of the day in the hope of hearing valuable information on the other side of the tube. It is also important that the employees of the publication are not cardboard characters performing a specific function. Both Megan and Jodie are well-developed characters whose personal lives give the story a realistic dimension. Both women are not only talented journalists, but also mothers who may have postpartum depression, catastrophic fatigue and obligations to the family.
The decision not to show Weinstein on the screen seems to be a fairly natural position. The angle from the back, the angry voice on the phone, the whispers in the hotel rooms – all this makes you feel the presence of the producer and his impressive influence on others. The authors of the picture avoid illustrating violence as such: we see the victims, confused and wiping tears after harassment in the workplace. Oddly enough, omissions help to understand the heroines even more: trauma divides life into before and after, and even remembering what happened becomes torture. The drama is enhanced by the participation of Ashley Judd in the role of herself in the film – we recall that the actress was one of the first to speak out against Weinstein.
Gradually revealing the frightening truth, Megan and Jodie begin to understand that this is not just an exposure of the powerful Weinstein and not even a challenge to the film industry system, but an opportunity to change the established world. Show business appears to be just the tip of the iceberg, which has already cracked in the name of global reshuffling. The fact that the conversation about violence does not fade away and films are made about it is a big, but far from the last step in the history of the struggle for women’s rights. After all, as the journalists themselves say, if this happened to Hollywood actresses, then who else can become a victim?