Title – She Said (2022)
Director – Maria Schrader (I’m Your Man)
Cast – Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Ashley Judd
Plot – Follows the painstaking investigation by New York Times journalists Megan Twohey (Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Kazan) into the horrifying abuse multiple woman accused renowned Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of committing over multiple decades.
“He built the silence, and people complied”
Review by Eddie on 02/02/2023
It’s unlikely anyone will ever truly understand just what happened to She Said.
Released as a prestige drama with aims of contending in major awards ceremonies, Maria Schrader’s hopeful and topical feature has the unfortunate record of being one of the mostly poorly attended films at the American box office to release in over 2000’s theatres, earning a rather sad $2.2 million dollars in its opening weekend towards a grand worldwide total of just over $12 million at the global box office, making it one of the most noteworthy flops of the modern era.
Produced by Brad Pitt and his production company Plan B, pundits were rightfully optimistic early on that Schrader’s film based off the industry changing reporting work from New York Times journalists Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor around the abusive and invasive behaviour of Hollywood heavyweight (in more ways than one) Harvey Weinstein would be one of 2022’s major contenders but in a case of perhaps coming out too soon, being seen as a cash grab or frankly just not being that incredible of film halted She Said in its tracks as it floundered in finding supporters in any corner of the ring.
With such poor commercial receptions and ho-hum critical responses you would expect She Said to be a far worse film when tuning in but Schrader’s film is a Spotlight-esque investigational that in many ways acts more as a tribute to the journalistic artform rather than a deep dive expose into the nefarious deeds of Weinstein and there are some great turns from long term friends Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan in the lead roles, with Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s screenplay too having some brilliant moments of fire in the belly that allow Mulligan and Kazan to showcase their respective acting chops.
What halt’s She Said in its tracks is an inability to grasp that hard to unlock emotional heft that the best of this type of true to life dramas find, with the lack of foundation to Mulligan’s Twohey and Kazan’s Kantor a major reason we never feel like are truly on this journey with them, more so a fly on the wall and while we know the emotional toll on these two and Weinstein’s victims is heavy, we never get that gut punch feeling and while Schrader ensures Weinstein is never a major presence in the film physically (outside of an unnerving New York Times on site visit) giving a nice touch to the looming villain, She Said just never seems to find an ability within itself to elevate its life as a feature.
Clearly not appealing to audiences or an industry still very much in the process of going through major cultural changes and movements on a broader scale across the entire globe in workplaces small and large, She Said is arguably a case of too much too soon or just simply a film that is fine in more ways than one, just not great in any.
Final Say –
She Said is a solid if oddly cold journalism focused drama that can’t make the best use of its talented leads or potentially powerful script to be a film that is better than average on a whole, but forgettable in an almost instantaneous fashion.
3 1/2 questions about Gwyneth Paltrow out of 5