“She said”: we saw the film on the investigation that brought down Harvey Weinstein

With “She Said”, which will be released on screens on November 23, director Maria Schrader offers to dive back into the investigation which led to the fall of the powerful American producer Harvey Weinstein, convicted of rape and sexual assault in 2020.

In the spring of 2020, in New York, the influential Hollywood film producer, Harvey Weinstein, was convicted of rape and sexual assault, and sentenced to twenty-three years in prison. Two years after this trial, and while he is currently appearing before the Los Angeles court for alleged acts committed between 2004 and 2013, the former American tycoon is the subject of a film, “She Said”, which hits theaters on November 23.

It is the film adaptation of the eponymous book by two New York Times journalists who were awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for their remarkable investigation into the crimes of Harvey Weinstein. An investigation behind the movement #MeToo and freedom of speech for hundreds of women around the world.

Two journalists involved in breaking decades of silence

The fruit of their collaboration has made it possible to “break decades of silence around the problem of sexual assault in the Hollywood film industry, and has forever upset American society and the world of culture”, can we read in the production notes.

In 2017, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey team up to investigate the numerous sexual harassment allegations against the man who has so far ruled the film industry, and who has produced, among other hits. like “Pulp Fiction” and “Will Hunting”. Embodied by Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan, journalists must show perseverance, tenacity, rigor, empathy and courage to try to bring the truth to light. We see them reviewing emails, verifying the authenticity of dozens of documents, and increasing calls to terrorized victims and former collaborators of Miramax and the Weinstein Company. And this, despite the intimidation of the Weinstein clan.

Co-produced by Brad Pitt and directed by the German Maria Schrader, sacred to the Emmy Awards for the mini-series “Unorthodox”, “She Said” is a tribute to investigative journalism which is in line with investigative films such as “The President’s Men” by Alan Pakula, “The Pentagon Papers” by Steven Spielberg, or even “Spotlight” by Tom McCarthy.

While Nicholas Britell’s music increases the pressure, the sober and academic staging leaves a lot of room for the negotiations – sometimes very long – and the many interviews that were necessary to convince the victims to speak. It also highlights the complementarity of these two journalists and young mothers, who juggle between family life and professional life, both intrinsically linked.

A work with a sober treatment without sensationalism

As this delicate investigation progresses, the wall of silence cracks, the victims choosing one after the other to make their voices heard, to confront their executioner and to revolt against omerta. Among them, the actress and feminist activist Ashley Judd, which plays its own role. The investigators and the entire editorial staff of the New York Times stand ready to publicly reveal the actions of the almighty Harvey Weinstein.

If this feature film is the first to openly quote the name of the producer, his presence is limited on the screen to an audio extract taken from a recording of his voice, and from a few scenes where the actor who interprets him is filmed from behind. “Our subject was the book and the lives of journalists. It is their point of view, their experience, and the testimony of those who dared to testify that we followed. We barely see Harvey Weinstein on screen, but his presence is really felt, and it is his misdeeds that punctuate the film,” explains Maria Schrader.

The same with sexual assault, mentioned by women but never shown. “It was out of the question to add yet another rape scene to the cinema, there have already been enough of them like that,” adds the filmmaker. “She Said” therefore focuses on behind the scenes of this investigation and the workings of the profession of journalist, more than on the repercussions that the publication of this shocking article will have.

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“She said”: we saw the film on the investigation that brought down Harvey Weinstein