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.