What to Watch This Weekend: She Said

She Said is the true story of pervasive sexual harassment in the workplace. During the 2016 U.S. presidential primary election, the New York Times began investigating complaints of inappropriate behavior by Republican nominee Donald Trump toward women. The work of the journalists leads to the hypothesis that women in various industries operate in toxic environments. Soon after, Times reporters Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan) and Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) start following evidence that several actresses found themselves in horrific situations with mega-Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein (former head of Miramax and The Weinstein Company). From there Kantor and Twohey uncover a much larger conspiracy to keep Weinstein’s transgressions hidden from the public.

What works in She Said is the honest exposition through commanding performances. Director Maria Schrader (Unorthodox) frames the film from a journalistic perspective. This allows the fantastic script by Rebecca Lenkiewicz (Disobedience) to focus on questions. These tough, thoughtful inquiries force individuals to face some harsh realities—important revelations by those who remained complicit and silent in the wake of unconscionable activity. She Said also gives a voice to the victims in a powerful way. It answers the common (if not insulting) question of, “well why didn’t you come forward sooner if something bad happened?” While this is through a dramatic retelling, the women at the focus of the story are given the opportunity to share their side of the events in a very raw way. This is especially true of performer Ashley Judd (Kiss the Girls, Barry) who plays herself recounting prior awful experiences with Weinstein.

Individuals who feel uncomfortable with candid discussion about sexual assault may not enjoy She Said as much as others. Make no mistake that She Said is a critically important film that all should watch to raise their awareness through edification. That doesn’t make the material any easier to digest, and some may prefer a written account rather than a narrative. While no graphic acts are shown, the details of the encounters are purposefully unsettling, so audiences should be cognizant of that before watching.

She Said is an essential, illuminating film. While She Said holds nothing back in its examination of Weinstein’s victimization, it also does do with astounding amount of grace. Its primary weapon is compassion as it sheds light on these women by giving them the opportunity to speak out. Highly recommended.

Recommended if you Enjoyed: Spotlight, All the Presidents Men

She Said is now available exclusively in theaters.

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