Movie review: “She Said”


Credit: Courtesy of "She Said" trailer on Youtube

WSPN’s Nathan Crozier reviews a new film, “She Said.” Crozier discusses how this box office failure is actually a masterpiece.

Nathan Crozier

Year after year, film production companies continue to pump out the same  book-to-film adaptations. These hot garbage films are uninspired messes that fail to capture their original works’ storyline and magical touch. So when the book “She Said,” based on a true report that exposes sexual abuse allegations against Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, was transformed into a movie, some, including myself, were intrigued.

Having read a condensed version of “She Said,” a book called “Chasing the Truth,” both written by Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, I was curious about how film director Schrader would turn a book that functioned as a report into a drama biography.

On Oct. 13, 2022, the film came out to the public, and it quickly opened to some pretty terrible box office numbers. The film had an estimated budget of $32 million, leading some to believe the movie would perform quite well. Yet, by the end of the first week of its release, it only pulled down about $2.2 million at the end of its opening weekend.

Though, these poor statistics don’t line up with the true beauty and raw emotion I think this film creates with its audience. Through the fantastic directing of Schrader, along with all the impeccable acting skills of the cast, especially Zoe Kazan’s performance as Jodi Kantor and Carey Mulligan’s performance as Megan Twohey, the film set the audience up for an emotional experience.

Like the books, the film begins with New York Times journalist Jodi Kantor discovering a rumor about large-scale sexual misconduct events related to famous film director Harvey Weinstein. Kantor jumps on the case and begins to collect clues, leading her to actress Rose McGowan, who previously claimed that Weinstein sexually assaulted her. McGowan’s confession of this assault is the first case in which we begin to see the true crimes of Weinstein, demonstrating to the audience the emotional pain the victims of Weinstein endured.

When I was in the movie theater, this was one of the first cases where I began to tear up from the acting. Keilly McQuail’s performance as McGowan was spectacular. The way she discussed McGowan’s rape with such an empty voice was depressing. It sounded like the true voice of McGowan, who had been trying to speak out about her incident for years.

McGowan’s comments lead Kantor to other actors and previous workers at Miramax, Weinstein’s film company. Many of them, however, deny her requests to comment on their experiences working under Weinstein.

Losing faith in the investigation, Kantor tries to convince Megan Twohey, a fellow New York Times journalist, to join her in the investigation into Weinstein. Due to previous events with investigative journalism and just having given birth, Twohey is hesitant to join the case. Yet, eventually, Twohey accepts Kantor’s request and joins her in the investigation.

As the film progresses, Kantor and Twohey track down a couple more victims and attempt to have them speak out against Weinstein. Most of the victims ignore, dodge or play dumb to the inquiries from the journalists, making it painfully clear that something is silencing them.

The audience learns that Weinstein is aware of Kantor and Twohey’s investigation into him right before an interview with another victim of Weinstein, Laura Madden, and the reporters. We realize that Weinstein calls the victims precisely before Kantor or Twohey investigates them to make sure they are silent about being abused through threats. The audience soon sees that he attempts to thwart their efforts to expose him by sending his lawyer on them to scare Kantor and Twohey off from trying to investigate him.

The scare tactics Weinstein employed against the victims made me extremely upset for them even when the chance of freedom from their abuse began to show. I also felt furious that NDAs are possible in cases such as rape and that Weinstein has such the power to keep his victims silent.

As the film begins nearing its climax, the audience sees more glimpses into the personal lives of the two reporters.

These glimpses helped the audience see the troubles of the two investigators’ lives, which gave them more depth and made them seem like real people. The phenomenal acting from Mulligan and Kazan made me attached to Kantor and Twohey as we saw past the veil of emotionless journalists who are only interested in the facts. We see that Kantor and Twohey are humans and not writing robots.

While the film did not do numbers at the box office, it remains very impactful to me. The film succeeded at converting a cold report of the events that surrounded the Weinstein investigation into a heartfelt story filled with the victims’ suffering and tension. This film brought me to tears during several instances and will leave a lasting impression on me until the day I die.

I will not rank this movie, as it ruins the message the film is trying to convey. Films such as “She Said” will help be the catalysts for victims to speak out against their abuses, and rating the film destroys such a powerful message. However, I do absolutely recommend the film if you are looking for a drama film filled with great acting and a moving story that unveils how difficult it can be for abuse victims to speak out.