Following the publication of a New York Times story detailing the many sexual assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, The MeToo movement, first launched by American activist Tarana Burke in 2006, received widespread media attention once again in 2017. A journalistic probe by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey exposed decades of abuse by the once-heroic film producer. Given the dramatic change in views regarding tolerating abusive work environments and having the confidence to face such cruelties, it is scarcely remarkable that a narrative of this magnitude has made its way to the big screen.
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Maria Schrader adapts the book by Kantor and Twohey, which details the process of removing powerful persons from their positions due to misuse of power. A nice enough story about a pivotal event, She Said suffers from a bloated running time that undermines the film’s ability to convince.
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Schrader makes a valiant attempt all through her writing to portray the arduous effort necessary to write this nonstop, life-altering tale. In this film, audiences realize that prominent journalists Kantor and Twohey, played by Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan respectively, never stopped living their lives for the narrative and that the same is true the other way around. The fact that both women have households and small children who rely on them furthers the impression that life carries on despite the challenges. The film does an excellent job of illustrating how each impacted the other. Their dedication to finding the truth and seeing that the victims get the justice they deserved was inspiring.
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The most confusing thing about She Said is that at times it seems to be just praising Hollywood for addressing the predator issue in the industry. When prominent women are named and appear in the story, the tone tends to be more feminine. Lenkiewicz’s script, which provides much-needed realism, is notable for its equal focus on lesser-known victims and its treatment of the film’s stars. Despite this, there are still abusers in Hollywood who are able to avoid consequences for their actions and enjoy continued success for decades after their misconduct has been exposed. Consequently, it might be difficult to take the film seriously while still being cognizant of the fact that it is just another Hollywood product.
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Schrader’s feature is most effective because of the tenderness with which she weaves the tale, despite the cynical evaluation that permeates the picture. It’s possible that viewers may enter the film with some degree of inherent sympathy. However, following extensive interviews with several female victims, journalists may develop strong feelings of animosity against the perpetrator and boundless sympathy for those he has harmed. Neither Mulligan nor Kazan disappoints in any scene from any of these arguments. They are trustworthy and steady, maintaining the story’s engaging and continually powerful aspects.
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She Said is a moving portrait of the survivors and witnesses who risk everything to speak out against a serial predator and put an end to his violent spree. Sincerity and persistence in bringing this allegation to light boosted the #MeToo movement in Hollywood and beyond. Though it drags on a little too long, She Said is effective at making its audience feel empowered to speak out against the systemic maltreatment of women in the workplace. It’s enough to make you forget for a while that these issues still plague our sector.