Throughout the film, the world of journalism is represented as it is – an intense mixture of mundanity from research, phone calls, note taking and staring at a computer screen, along with cathartic moments of discovery, conversations with incredible people and the uncovering of important stories.
She Said’s take on the media world isn’t one of glamour or teenage pipe dreams, though. A far departure from the depictions made by TV show The Bold Type and movie classics How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days and 13 Going On 30, it’s portrayed as more gritty existence of persistence, with incredible opportunities to affect change, which is exactly what journalism should be at its core.
It also highlights – without too much Hollywood-style sugar coating – one of the cruellest truths of the Weinstein investigation. That victims, who had already lost so much, were made to choose between their careers, their livelihoods and speaking out about the horrific abuse they had endured.
Needless to say, a Hollywood blockbuster about the systemic issues of sexual harassment, manipulation and abuse within Hollywood itself is a difficult, complicated but important story to tell right.
Director Maria Schrader (who also helmed Netflix’s Unorthodox) navigates this challenge beautifully, particularly when it comes to how the survivor’s stories are told and the nuances of the journalistic investigation. She also has a stellar cast to back up her efforts.
Carey Mulligan’s take on Megan Twohey is compelling and complex – spikey, smart, funny – and a woman with her own struggles. Alongside the investigation, we see Megan grapple with postnatal depression, death threats due to the stories she’s reporting on and truly visceral anger when she encounters sexual harassment herself in a bar. In other words, we see her live the ugliness that comes with being a modern woman.
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