She Said (2022)
The fall of Harvey Weinstein was a long, long time coming, and the journalistic procedural drama She Said demonstrates just how hard it is to hold bad men accountable. This is a very similar movie to 2015’s Best Picture-winning Spotlight, following hard-nosed professionals as they go through beat-after-beat of assembling their case, following the leads, and convincing those who have been wronged to come forward and share their personal stories. The star is the details, the main crusading New York Times journalists (Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan) being defined by their tenacity and determination. As should be obvious, it’s galling how many people protected this awful man, including the police, because of how influential he was as a movie producer. Peeling back the layers of protection revolves around working on the niggling moral concerns of many who looked the other way, out of financial incentive or fear or disregard for rocking the “way things were.” When the expose picks up actual momentum, you can feel the same excitement of holding the powerful to account, even already knowing the end results that would land Weinstein in jail for the remainder of his life. It’s a simple yet effective approach. She Said is little more than a dramatized in-depth news article on its relevant subject, but the ensemble of actors give it a fire that simply scanning the written word can miss. The direction is very matter-of-fact, the writing is thoughtful though a bit heavy with data dumps, and outside of the victims narrating their experiences, or relatives discovering the extent of those experiences that have been kept hidden from them, there isn’t much sustainable tension. Much has been made of Samantha Morton’s one-scene wonder but I think Jennifer Ehle (Braveheart) does even more with her scenes as a victim choosing to speak during a health scare that reassess her thinking. I wish the movie had extrapolated about the entire film industry protecting abusers, but it keeps its focus squarely narrowed on taking down Weinstein. She Said is a worthy movie with a worthy subject and heavy in the details but maybe light on its own drama.
Nate’s Grade: B