Straightforward narrative tells about Harvey Weinstein’s crimes and the women he hurt
“She Said” carefully presents the case against former movie executive Harvey Weinstein, who was sentenced for 23 years on sex crime convictions.
The movie is based on the book of the same name by New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, who investigated Mr. Weinstein and persuaded his victims to go on the record.
The film succeeds largely because of Ms. Twohey and Ms. Kantor, who did their research, checked their facts and developed a rapport with the women who suffered abuse by Mr. Weinstein, the former head of Miramax Studios.
Rebecca Lenkiewicz, who wrote the screenplay based on the reporters’ book, keeps the narrative straightforward and clear. Director Maria Schrader does likewise.
And Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman,” “An Education”) and Zoe Kazan (“The Plot Against America,” “The Big Stick”) do a great job depicting Ms. Twohey and Ms. Kantor respectively.
The film also benefits from the performance by Ashley Judd, who plays herself and re-enacts the conversations she had with the reporters about the abuse she experienced from Mr. Weinstein.
In the cases of Gwyneth Paltrow and Rose McGowan, actresses who said they experienced abuse from Mr. Weinstein, the film has other actresses playing their voices in telephone conversations.
Jennifer Ehle stands out in the film for her honest portrayal of Laura Madden, the breast cancer survivor who went on the record for the crimes Mr. Weinstein committed against her. Ms. Madden was the first woman who went on the record, and Ms. Paltrow, Ms. McGowan and Ms. Judd later followed.
In addition to documenting Mr. Weinstein’s crimes, “She Said” reveals the Hollywood system that long kept Mr. Weinstein and others like him from being accountable for their horrendous actions. The victims were kept silent by the terms of settlements and non-disclosure agreements, but Ms. Twohey and Ms. Kantor found, through persistence, women who would go on the record.
“She Said” is also a good look at how newspapers track a single, complicated story over a long period.
Longtime actor Andre Braugher takes a calm but compelling approach to playing New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet. Patricia Clarkson is equally effective as Rebecca Corbett, the editor leading the investigations department at the New York Times.
“She Said” takes the viewer through each step of the journalistic process, from conferences with editors to traveling around the world to find sources.
The film’s pacing, music and cinematography all blend in a way to let the story unfold clearly. This is easily one of the better films of 2022.