American director Maria Schrader reflects on the long investigation by two journalists from the New York Times. By collecting testimonies from women abused by the film producer, Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor have helped break the omerta of sexual assault in Hollywood.
Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein ruled the film industry for many years. Six-time Oscar winner, the American producer is notably behind “Sex, Lies and Video”, “Pulp Fiction” and “Will Hunting”. For a long time, this man of power made and broke careers, took advantage of his status to force the women around him to grant him sexual favors. The rumors around his unacceptable behavior may well circulate, nothing filters. The film industry protects him every time he slips up and the rare investigations against him come to nothing.
An investigation, a book and a film adaptation
Two journalists from the New York Times then decide to investigate these actions. For months, they try to collect different testimonies from women abused by Harvey Weinstein. Their investigation was published on the front page of the New York Times in 2017. Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey won the Pulitzer Prize, which then resulted in the writing of a book in 2019 called “She Said”. Maria Schrader’s film is therefore an adaptation of this work on the big screen. It highlights the strength of women who have dared to testify, after years of silence. But also the journey of these two journalists – and their editorial staff – who devoted themselves body and soul to bringing the truth to light.
>> To see: the trailer of the film
Importance of Investigative Journalism
“She Said” highlights all the work behind investigative journalists: phone calls, e-mails, recordings of testimonies, but also protection of sources. In order to be as close as possible to reality, the film also shot part of the scenes in the actual newsroom of the New York Times. The meticulousness and rigor of this work gives real weight when the investigation is published in the New York Times.
The denunciation of a predator, but also of a whole system has a “snowball” effect. Other women come out of their silence, whether in the United States, but also elsewhere in the world. It was also at this time that the #MeToo movement took off. After decades of deaf ears, people are beginning to listen and above all believe what women say.
>> To listen: When the cinema seizes the biggest scandal in its entire history – radio column broadcast in the Morning
A subtle and refined film
“She Said” follows both the professional lives of Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, but also evokes their intimate sphere. We see them in their respective families, with their husbands and their children. The postpartum depression that Megan Twohey suffered a lot after the birth of her daughter is also addressed in this film. For the film critic of the RTS Rafael Wolf, this gives in the end a refined and realistic fiction, reinforced by the presence of the actress Ashley Judd who plays her own role of victim.
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“She Said”, a tribute to the women in the Weinstein affair