Review: She Said


Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan) and Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) are two investigative reporters for the New York Times who broke one of the most significant stories of the last decade...the open secret that is the the pervert known as Harvey Weinstein.

Despite having two fantastic actresses in the lead performances, this film is currently struggling at the box office, and I get it. Films centered around sexual assault are a hard sell. I would guess the majority of the population doesn't want to watch movies about that. Thankfully, this isn't a film that's showing any of it on screen, but it is showing women at their most vulnerable moments retelling it. In some cases, even the real life survivors like Ashley Judd turn up to play themselves.

I'm torn on this. Director Maria Schrader has made some excellent features in the past. Her limited series Unorthodox is one of the best mini series I've ever seen, and her last film I'm Your Man was fun too. Here, she doesn't give herself an opportunity to do much with the material. The scenes where the survivors are telling Jodi and Megan their stories are the most powerful. Everything else however feels very stilted. Jodi and Megan's report with each other feels very awkward, which is especially strange since Mulligan and Kazan are friends in real life. They're not meant to be BFFs, but they never feel like they're having an actual conversation with each other.

The pacing in a journalism movie will make or break it. That's why films like Spotlight and All The President's Men are so perfect. The pacing here isn't bad, it flows very quickly, but it's not an "exciting" quickly. The editing is very choppy. We're constantly jumping to different locations so we rarely get to sit with a scene. 

The story itself IS interesting, which is why I'm bummed I didn't like this movie. What these women did was so brave, and this film does a very good job at showing just how vigilant women have to be in every situation where we have to be alone with a man. There's a line in here where someone says that she "wore two pairs of tights just to be safe" that absolutely broke me. That's where the film is the strongest. 

Kazan and Mulligan are very good, and hats off to the casting directors for finding the younger versions of some survivors we meet. It was pretty perfect across the board.

So is this for you? If you like a journalism movie, then you should absolutely watch this. If you read the original article, it's still nice to see how it all came together even if the film isn't perfect.

Grade: B-

Comments

  1. There was a time in my life when I would have seen this on opening night, because my wife (girlfriend at the time) was a journalist. We saw everything even tangentially related to journalism.

    This doesn't feel like a "theater" movie to me. It feels like a "prestige, we want Oscar nominations" movie to me.

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    1. When you see the movie play out, it's not nearly Oscar baity enough. I expected it to be. It's just very by the books. Still, I hope you see it eventually!

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  2. I'd like to see this though it's a shame it did poorly in the box office though Mark Kermode was right about its release strategy. It made the mistake of going wide in its first week and at the worst possible time when you have a Marvel movie out at the same time. What it should've done is just go on a limited release in certain markets and build it up and then hope for the best when it's on a streaming service. I really do want to see this film because of the story as I felt these two women didn't get enough credit for what they've done.

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    1. I agree with that analysis too. This was always going to be a hard sell, and starting small and letting word of mouth spread before going wide would've been the smarter thing. I hope a good streaming service gets it so it can find a wider audience. You're right that these two get kind of forgotten when Ronan's Farrow's article was so huge. Even when they mention him in this film, I found it a bit distracting.

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    2. It pisses me off that Satchel (that's his birth name) got a lot of the credit when he had previously worked for FOX News and shared a lot of their views and such for some reason as I see him as nothing more than a spoiled, two-faced prick.

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    3. I don't know, I feel like Ronan was just like a lot of privileged kids who grew and had their opinions change. I don't see him as two faced since he's pretty up front about his short comings. I think had I not read his book, it wouldn't have seemed as distracting to me, but when they name dropped him, I immediately thought about everything in that.

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  3. I want to see this film because of the matter at hand. It sounds intelligent, thought provoking, no Tom Cruise Stunts no cars going 200 mph so I knew it would fail.

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    1. LOL. Yes, this was going to be a massively hard sell.

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