Diving into the investigation that brought down Harvey Weinstein

A film on the Harvey Weinstein affair, but above all an ode to investigative journalism and to the women who had the courage to speak out: “She Said”, Wednesday in French cinemas, recounts the long investigative work that triggered the #MeToo movement five years ago.

Already sentenced to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault in 2020 in New York, the influential former film producer is currently retried in Los Angeles. On screen in “She Said”, actress and feminist activist Ashley Judd, one of the first to have denounced the sexual harassment that Harvey Weinstein had subjected her to, plays her own role: that of an actress who refused the sexual advances of the producer and paid the price, before resolving years later to speak openly. “It’s so important to be in our truth and to have a moral right to our own story that I had no trouble doing it,” the actress said in October, during the screening of the film at Lincoln Center in New York, before paying tribute to his “sisters”, other victims of Weinstein who were also present at the screening.

On October 5, 2017, when the article by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey is published by the New York Times, after months of work, it will cause the downfall of the untouchable Hollywood producer and the wave of freedom of speech #MeToo of women on sexual violence or sexism, well beyond the cinema. But “She Said”, by German filmmaker Maria Schrader and adapted from the eponymous book by the two Pulitzer-prize-winning journalists, pays little attention to the repercussions of their investigation. Like the film “The President’s Men” (1976) on the Watergate scandal, or “Spotlight” (2015), which put the spotlight on the Boston Globe investigation into child crime in the Catholic Church, the film is above all a tribute to the patient and tenacious work of investigative journalists. Nearly half a century after the Washington Post duo embodied by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman (“The President’s Men”), these are two women, seasoned journalists and young mothers, who make the powerful tremble, with the help behind-the-scenes but crucial editor Rebecca Corbett and the unwavering support of their editor-in-chief, Dean Baquet.

“One of the reasons we are so honored by this film is that it truly embodies our beliefs in journalism,” Jodi Kantor told New York. “We’ve been journalists for a long time, but the Weinstein case kind of underlines everything we believe in and puts exclamation marks on it,” she added. The duo is played by Zoe Kazan, who plays Jodi Kantor, and Carey Mulligan for Megan Twohey. The film highlights their complementarity: at the first the work of persuasion and empathy to make testify the victims, actresses or employees of Miramax, at the other the duels facing the lieutenants of Weinstein.

With a sober direction and writing, and the serious music of Nicholas Britell, “She Said” increases in intensity until the final face-to-face between the New York Times and Harvey Weinstein and his lawyers, at the time of the publication of the article. (Belga / Belgium)

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Diving into the investigation that brought down Harvey Weinstein