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It was made public on October 5, 2017, according to a New York Times article by journalists Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor. Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, was a serial sexual predator whose abuses were covered up by his studio with hush money payments. Weinstein made movies that made millions of dollars at the box office, received dozens of Oscar nominations, and won three Best Picture awards.
Innumerable #MeToo disclosures, the resignation of other prominent executives, and institutional improvements that have provided women more opportunity and protection in the entertainment business and other workplaces all stemmed from that reporting. Carey Mulligan plays Twohey, and Zoe Kazan plays Kantor in the cinematic adaptation of their best-selling book about researching the piece and convincing the ladies to speak on the record. In “She Said,” a journalism procedural in the vein of “Spotlight,” Maria Schrader demonstrates how powerful men are made possible and how heartbroken women are when they are silenced. Significantly, the film’s title is only half of the dismissive “he said/she said” response to allegations of sexual harassment that lack witnesses.
Do you believe speaking up could deter him? The survivors, many of whom have suffered significant trauma, want to know this. According to an old proverb, when an iron pot strikes a clay pot, the clay pot breaks, and the reverse is true when a clay pot strikes an iron pot. The fiery iron kettle was Harvey Weinstein. He possessed enormous wealth and influence. He didn’t think twice about telling the young women that he could either launch their careers or ensure they were never given the chance. They were then compensated for agreeing to sign tight non-disclosure agreements. And the women—whether they succeeded in saying no or failed—were unfairly but unavoidably humiliated. Predator victims almost always place the blame on themselves. There are a lot of good reasons not to speak. So many secrets exist.
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As the two reporters become engrossed in the story, the film strikes a balance between their investigative work and personal life. Threehey experiences postpartum depression. Kantor, a mother of young children, receives a call at home that has been eagerly anticipated; she can’t pass up that chance. The crucial support they receive from their husbands and their editors is also made obvious in “She Said.”
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To state that this is a good, traditional movie that was nicely created is in no way critical. As always, Mulligan and Kazan are great, and their editors Patricia Clarkson and Andre Braugher provide them with excellent assistance. The two women who Weinstein preyed upon stand out as Jennifer Ehle and Angela Yeoh. As a lawyer in Washington, DC, I found Peter Friedman’s portrayal of Washington lawyer Lanny Davis to be very enjoyable. He wonderfully captured the suave, “come on, we’re all buddies here,” charm of a fixer who is only worth what the.01 percent can afford.
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We get a telling glimpse of the tedium, tenacity, and frustration of investigative reporting, just like in “Spotlight” and “All the President’s Men.” The paper does not hesitate to send them thousands of miles abroad when there is a chance that someone could be ready to talk to them. The honesty and commitment of the reporters and their editors are admirable.
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One of the film’s high points is the interaction between Weinstein and his attorneys. Though we never learn the names of the board of directors who consistently gave their OK to payments of millions of dollars in hush money, it is infuriating to see what Weinstein got away with for so long. Even more depressing is to consider how uncommon it is to dedicate those types of resources to a protracted research endeavor. Who will publish a book on every Weinstein?
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