[Cinéma] She Said: a good summary of the Weinstein affair, just a little too conventional

In October 2017, the New York Times published a vast investigation into the actions of producer Harvey Weinstein accused of sexual assault and rape by a dozen actresses and collaborators. The publication of these articles, signed by journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, freed speech in Hollywood. Very quickly, new complaints were registered, bringing to 93 the number of potential victims of Harvey Weinstein. The former boss of the production company Miramax, very popular in the 90s until the beginning of 2000, was then the subject of a judicial inquiry at the end of which he was sentenced to 23 years in prison, in 2020.

This Weinstein affair, which led to the #MeToo movement in its wake, with all the abuses that we know, had already been the subject of a documentary, indigent and to say the least debatable, The Untouchablereleased in theaters just a few months before the start of the first trial, as if to better influence the court decision…

The film by Maria Schrader, She Said, although it was released at the same time as the opening, in Los Angeles, of a second trial of Harvey Weinstein – again implicated by five women –, certainly enjoys greater legitimacy insofar as the first conviction having been pronounced, public opinion has more perspective on this case. Its interest is all the stronger as the story is intended to be the adaptation of the homonymous investigative book by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, awarded in 2018 by the Pulitzer Prize. The two editors are then set up as the main characters of a scenario which gives itself the (vast) ambition of retracing the different key stages of the journalistic investigation.

The whole culminates in a film-dossier – in the vein of Pentagon Papers, jfk, Snowden Where spotlight – which fails, alas, to match its models. For good reason, the work, certainly colossal, of Kantor and Twohey is not based so much on material elements as on testimonies, confidences of victims and former collaborators of Weinstein. This is the limit of the cinematographic object. She Said cannot really claim to be a thriller, unlike its models.

The film also sins by the weak characterization of its two heroines. Which boils down, for Twohey, to a vague postpartum depression and a somewhat conventional sequence during which the character violently rebuffs a clumsy guy in a bar. Kantor, she whines, a lot, often even more than the victims she questions, causing some discomfort in the viewer.

The film nevertheless remains an appreciable summary of the Weinstein affair, going back and forth to the system put in place by the producer to lure his prey to the hotel, abuse them and buy their silence. via his production company. The victims who signed a financial agreement, if they decided to publicize their aggression, in particular in the press, risked pure and simple legal proceedings. More broadly, those who complained in any way could put an end to their careers, Harvey Weinstein making sure to close all the doors of the film industry to them.

A real threat that hovers throughout the story but that we never see, the predatory producer speaks despite everything through sound recordings and blood-curdling phone calls. His reputation being well established since the judgment of 2020, this film will undoubtedly have no real impact on the smooth running of his second trial.

3 out of 5 stars

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[Cinéma] She Said: a good summary of the Weinstein affair, just a little too conventional