She Said

She Said
She Said
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Journalists, in general, are not interesting enough to be made the main characters of a film. We tell other people’s stories, stories about extraordinary individuals who have accomplished what was thought impossible. But sometimes journalists do become the story — like in Spotlight or All The President’s Men. Or five years ago, when New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke the Harvey Weinstein story.

She Said is a rare thing for this reason — it is not just another film about journalists or another indictment of Hollywood. It is both those things and more: a meta-commentary on the continued injustices of filmmaking and journalism; a portrait of tired women finding strength to keep going. There are no heroes here, no epically raised stakes — what happened is enough.

It deftly avoids falling into the well-worn traps of performative feminism that so often afflict female-led films — either marketing them under girlboss culture or reductively pigeonholing all interesting women as “strong female characters”. Kantor and Twohey are exceptional journalists, but they’re also burnt-out mothers: Carey Mulligan delicately renders Twohey’s exhaustion and unexpected postnatal depression as a new mother just weeks before she joined Kantor on the Weinstein investigation; it’s a joy to see Zoe Kazan lead again (her last major lead was in The Big Sick around the same time the Weinstein story broke) — forever-juggling Jewish mother-of-two Kantor constantly trying to prove herself; nobody seems to see beyond her meekness.

The film’s power lies largely in its care for young female characters — how it protects those scared to speak up through writing while finding language for unthinkable acts. How do you protect yourself without ruining your own life? Director Maria Schrader already showed her skill at framing sensitively told stories about women trapped by circumstance in miniseries Unorthodox, about a Jewish woman leaving her religious community; here she spotlights the women of the film industry terrified of telling the truth.

There are moments that almost look like a Hollywood biopic, particularly in Nicholas Britell’s score, which recalls his sombre work on Succession more than the delicate emotion he puts into scores for Barry Jenkins. But Mulligan and Kazan ground this with crushing power — no fake sass or manipulative drama, just truth: sober investigation, righteous justice done to women who have suffered too long.

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