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“She Said:” Not a Publish-or-Perish Tale

It has been a half-decade since New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey charted the horrific crimes of Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein, helping give birth to the #MeToo movement. Surely there were blood, sweat, and tears shed behind the scenes as the two of them worked with victims to help uncover the story and get it to print, but in the new film She Said, director Maria Schrader (Unorthodox) and screenwriter Rebecca Lenkiewicz (Disobedience, Ida) struggle to find a dynamic angle for a feature film.

Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan play the reporters – but despite their skill, the film lacks a compelling human element beyond the writers’ noble purpose. This is not really a thriller in which they find their lives or livelihoods in danger, it’s not about any struggles they had dealing with corporate bureaucracy, and there is no suspense about what would ultimately happen. (We don’t even see where important leads come from.)

There’s also a pervasive smugness to She Said – its privileged characters are proud of themselves out of self-interest. Kantor and Twohy don’t simply want to have rectified a major issue, they also want to pursue the glory that their investigative story will bring them. But the movie doesn’t want to face that reality. It sanctifies the journalists rather than portray them as human beings.

This is a competent film, and one on the side of right. But it lacks a convincing reason for being on its own. A story about people who tell a story still needs to tell a story of its own.