She Said follows the true story of New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor as they break one of the most important stories in a generation – a story that helped ignite a movement and shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood. The movie packs with it a lot of weight, as the Harvey Weinstein bombshell was only 5 years ago, leading to the beginning of the #MeToo movement. Director Maria Schrader and writer Rebecca Lenkieweicz choose to highlight the journalists and their integrity, relentlessness and dedication, as well as their victims and their courage to speak out, rather than showing Weinstein himself on screen. Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan bring ferocity and empathy to their performances, and the movie highlights their perseverance and strength in their job, but also the importance of this story to them as women, as well as their balancing of their personal lives as mothers and the support of their husbands without it being questioned. Mulligan especially feels very naturally in command of her role, but Kazan also rises to having that same on-screen force. Andre Braugher is also great as Dean Baquet, the chief editor of the New York Times, and Samantha Morton and Jennifer Ehle are excellent as two women interviewed about their experiences with Weinstein.
The film is an important watch and though the more emotional moments may make viewers uncomfortable, it’s powerful to see Hollywood reckon with such a recent past, doing it with such patience and grabbing your interest even when talky scenes with many journalistic, legal, or industry terms can go on for long. The movie not only resonates because of the terrible things that happened in the film industry, but the silence that was allowed for go on for decades, the many who enabled the wrongdoers and their remaining in power — and whether the accountability still must be held — and the failure of the law to protect victims of sexual abuse, a change that’s only begun mere years ago. It addresses a system that’s allowed men to get away with years of abuse of power, and even get elected president, but at its core, it works because it brings forward the strong voices that helped contribute to the exposure of the broken system, both from the reporting and the survivor side. It’s a film that’s a conversation starter, about change that still needs to be made, and in affinity with the women of its story, whose bravery and determination are front and center.