“I am a 28 year old woman trying to make a living and a career. Harvey Weinstein is a 64 year old, world famous man and this is his company. The balance of power is me: 0, Harvey Weinstein: 10.” – Lauren O’Connor
I think every generation as children and young adults feels as if the world is a dumping ground for everything awful. You feel as though the worst parts of history are happening during your lifetime. When WWI ended in 1918 anyone alive could never imagine something like it ever happening again and yet in 1939 Hitler invaded Poland and the rest as they say is history. When I was twelve years old and the worst terrorist attack on American soil happened I never imagined anything happening again that would define my generation in such a profound way. And then in 2008 the housing market crashed creating the worst recession since the great depression of 1929. Surely nothing else of note could possibly transpire before I hit the ripe age of forty right? Obviously other things occurred but my focus here is the year 2017 when a match was lit igniting a global movement.
A New York Times article titled, ‘Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades’ was published creating a springboard for the once silenced victims of workplace sexual assault to finally have their voices heard and for their predators to finally face justice. It was an ignition that created an explosion of accusations from the highest levels of Hollywood to the everyday offices of those you yourself may have worked at or know someone who did. To say it was an eye opening experience for someone like myself who could never imagine behaving the way these degenerates did (and do) is putting it mildly. You assume sexual harassment takes place from time to time but the frequency at which it occurred and actions committed by these deviants is nothing short of mind blowing.
She Said is the treacherous lead up to the ultimate accusation and eventual imprisonment of Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein. Researched, interviewed and culminated by New York Times investigative reporters, Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan) and Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan); this is their story of highlighting decades worth of sexual abuse in the workplace starting with one of its worst perpetrators at the height of his powers and in the midst of his ongoing, decades-long assaults of countless women.
Believe it or not but exposing someone as vile as Weinstein is no easy task. It required bravery in the face of a man who only knew power and manipulation readily available to him like a caffeine addict living in a city with a Starbucks at every corner. Kantor and Twohey became determined to find the one catalyst, a willing on-record voice, to create a hopeful domino effect to topple this man’s plague upon the Hollywood industry.
She Said is a portrayal of a harrowing time in modern history when a marginalized group decided to rise as one and bring down those who believed they can grope, verbally and physically harass and yes in many cases, rape their fellow coworkers. It was an era of power manipulation used against those, predominantly women, who had the audacity to desire a better life by means of a career. While many attempts to change things were made before this article was released, decades before leading up to the very day it was published, so much of it was ignored or quieted by pay-offs or straightforward intimidation. She Said answers the condescending question seemingly thrown in the faces of every sexual assault victim, “Why didn’t you say anything before?” In short, they did. No one listened. The movie, like the article it’s based on, is just one more thing no one can ignore. Like it or not, it serves a purpose.
At times the film can be formulaic and structurally redundant. The runtime feels a bit too long but what raises this film is the subject and attention to detail. It never forgets the victims and what they went through and what they needed to say about their experiences. It even allows the offenders to have their moment to speak even when it causes everyone in the room to roll their eyes from the hogwash spewed from their disgusting faces. The film never forgets to listen and this is its greatest strength. It presents the information and allows the audience to come to our own conclusions about those involved.
This dramatized look at the spark of the Me Too movement is maddening. It is depressing and infuriating. It is enraging because so much of this behavior was rarely hidden enough to say no one knew anything but rather it was often left in the open and simply met with disregard or disbelief. It’s an inspirational message to those who may feel beaten by those deemed too powerful to fail. This was a man who thought that very thing and now he’s serving a twenty-three year prison sentence. Justice doesn’t happen nearly enough but when it does it’s a warning to those still evading their comeuppance that nothing stays a secret forever.
“What is hidden in snow, comes forth in the thaw.”
Rated R For: language and descriptions of sexual assault
Runtime: 128 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Drama, History
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher
Directed By: Maria Schrader
Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 10/ Acting: 9/ Directing: 8/ Visuals: 6
OVERALL: 8 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: While I enjoyed it, the idea of watching a movie about sexual assault in Hollywood for repeated viewing isn’t my idea of a nice evening. For the collectors, I would say yes. I just don’t know how often I’m going to watch it beyond my first experience.
Check out the trailer below:
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