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Bob Bloom calls this drama about the New York Times investigation into Harvey Weinstein a searing look at an important subject that extends far beyond the film industry.
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Tell me if you’ve seen this one: a pair of investigative reporters work diligently, despite threats and stonewalling, to put a spotlight on crimes that are rampant but ignored.
“All the President’s Men?” “Spotlight?” Sorry, no, it’s “She Said,” the movie based on the reporting by “New York Times” journalists Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor into the sexual abuse and rape allegations about powerful movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, head of Miramax Pictures.
Despite following the blueprint of its predecessors, “She Said” makes for compelling viewing. Even if you know, have read or heard media accounts of the story, you still feel a sense of outrage.
What is most disturbing is how for years, women who came forward received no help from law enforcement, the media or the courts.
They were coerced into silence through large monetary settlements for which they had to sign NDAs (nondisclosure agreements). Basically, they were forced to keep mute about their pain and trauma.
Like its predecessors, “She Said” follows a familiar roadmap; Twohey and Kantor must find women willing to talk about and corroborate the allegations the reporters are investigating. They also need to convince the women to go on the record with their claims.
Witnesses or friends also are needed to substantiate the women’s stories.
And finally, Weinstein himself must be confronted.
In writer Rebecca Lenkiewicz and director Maria Schrader’s script, Weinstein — except for a short scene in a “Times” conference room (in which he only is seen from the back) — is simply a very dark shadow hovering over the movie.
We hear him on the telephone — arrogant, blustery, bullying — denying everything. His ability to dominate and intimidate subordinates is his weapon of choice.
Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan portray Twohey and Kantor. They are laser-focused, forceful reporters who are not deterred by the wall of silence erected around Weinstein.
They also display a compassion and understanding when asking various women to relive traumas they would rather forget.
Mulligan is more hard-shelled; a no-nonsense journalist more than willing to ask hard questions and cutting through the b.s. fed her by Weinstein’s various sycophants.
Kazan is a bit softer, slowly winning the trust of the women she interviews, refusing to push them and giving them time and space to decide whether or not to come forward.
The script also covers the reporters’ personal lives. Both are married with children, and scenes depicting them trying to balance their lives boost their relatability.
“She Said,” at 135 minutes, is too long. Some judicious editing was needed to trim points that are repetitious. We don’t need multiple scenes of “Times” editors, played by Patricia Clarkson and Andre Braugher, telling Twohey and Kantor to secure people on the record and move faster on breaking their story.
Samantha Morton, Jennifer Ehle and Angela Yeoh as women who worked for Miramax offer strong support.
“She Said” tells a familiar story, one that still is making headlines — Weinstein, already serving a prison sentence in New York state, goes on trial soon in Los Angeles on more charges related to his predatory behavior.
It is a story worth revisiting because the abuses perpetrated by Weinstein and the silence of those who enabled him, is not limited to the movie industry.
It occurs in the military, more than likely throughout corporate America and even in people’s homes. Hopefully, someone who sees “She Said” will be inspired to speak out and shine a brighter light on this sexual epidemic.
I am a founding member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. I review movies, 4K UHD, Blu-rays and DVDs for ReelBob (ReelBob.com), The Film Yap and other print and online publications. I can be reached by email at email@example.com. You also can follow me on Twitter @ReelBobBloom and on Facebook at ReelBob.com or the Indiana Film Journalists Association. My movie reviews also can be found at Rotten Tomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.