‘She Said’ Movie Highlights Power of Journalism


Universal Pictures

Megan Twohey (left) and Jodi Kantor (right) reporting on the cases against Weinstein.

Hana Marrone, Features Editor

The movie “She Said” is a dramatic biography based on the two New York Times journalists, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, in their quest to uncover the sexual abuse scandal of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. “She Said” is based on the book of the same name that was published in 2017. 

In the public eye, Weinstein was a very well-known producer who was liked and respected by the people around him. He seemed to have the power to make a star out of any actor he cast in the movies he was producing. Working for him was seen as the best place to be because he was so successful. 

“She Said” encompassed the perseverance of the reporters during their research. Kantor (Zoe Kazan) and Twohey (Carey Mulligan) were shown to be headstrong during their endeavor to write the truth about sexual harassment in the workplace. They provided viewers with a real glimpse of the frustrations of investigating such a difficult and emotional story. 

After the information about then-presidential candidate Donald Trump surfaced, the two reporters attempt to expose other powerful and influential people who were abusing their power, and that person ended up being Weinstein. 

One of the first people that the reporters contacted was actor Ashley Judd, who boldly plays herself in the movie. Initially Judd expressed that she did not want to talk to the New York Times because she had spoken up before. Not only had her complaints been dismissed, she was basically “blacklisted” by Weinstein afterwards, thus proving the power he had over Hollywood at the time. 

Some of the women who were victims of Weinstein expressed similar fears as the reason why they didn’t want to go on the record. This fear came from several places. Some were afraid to be turned into a mere scandal or that no one would believe them. One woman struggled to get a job after leaving Weinstein’s company because he had such a good reputation. People wondered why they would want to work for anyone else after having a job for Weinstein. 

A few understood the reality. As former Weinstein assistant Zelda Perkins (Samantha Morton) said in the movie, “This is bigger than Weinstein. This is about the system protecting abusers.”  

For the majority of the movie, Kantor was looking into the complaints about Weinstein dating back to the 1990s. There had been many settlements made in order to keep these women quiet. When Kantor met with Irwin Reiter (Zach Grenier), an accountant for Weinstein’s company, he revealed that she shouldn’t just be looking into Weinstein’s old offenses. Weinstein had sexually harassed many more women in recent years. 

Through their research, the reporters opened the floodgates to many women opening up about their experience working for and around Weinstein. At first, there were approximately 20 women speaking about him. Once the story was published, people felt more comfortable to share their experiences.

Kantor and Twohey reported on a story that built trust with women who otherwise would have stayed silent. 

For this story in particular, there was a strong presence of action behind the scenes beyond just their hard work. They had two editors, Dean Baquet (Andre Braugher) and Rebecca Corbett (Patricia Clarkson), encouraging them and standing with them when Weinstein was being his difficult self. They were editors who were not intimidated by Weinstein nor his legal team. For example when Weinstein’s legal team asked for several weeks to write a response to the initial story, Baquet quickly shut them down and tells them they have no more than 48 hours. 

“She Said” captures the influence that reporters have to create change when they sway people to reconsider what they believe to be the truth. It is in many ways a modern retelling of the classic “All the President’s Men,” showcasing all of the angst and struggles of two reporters desperate to get someone to go on the record and confirm the truth. The first led to the resignation of the president of the United States; the other led to the criminal conviction of someone far more powerful.