TThe title takes the second half of a famous phrase used to refute rape accusations – “he said, she said” – and in doing so restores the importance of women’s testimony. It’s the story of two New York Times reporters, Megan Toohey and Jodi Kantor, and their battle to break the story of now-disgraced and jailed filmmaker Harvey Weinstein and his decades-long practice of threatening, harassing and raping young women. Actors and junior staff, pacify them with threats and NDA payoffs, enabled by a huge male superstructure of silence. Adapted from the journalistic book of the same title by Rebecca Lenkiewicz and directed by Maria Schrader.
The journalists’ plan was to have several accusers go public at once – or, failing that, to get one prominent survivor on the record and believe others coming forward; This was the foundation of the #MeToo strategy. Carey Mulligan plays Toohey and Zoe Kazan plays Cantor, and theirs is a 21st-century workplace: as well as their stressful jobs, Toohey and Cantor deal with motherhood, babies, and exhaustion, which Woodward and Bernstein never care about. did not feel But because life is messy and complicated, someone else is working on the same story: Ronan Farrow for the New Yorker, whose work is referenced in the film. Perhaps their goodwill contributions could have been accepted a little more generously?
It features some small roles: Samantha Morton is Weinstein’s former assistant Zelda Perkins and Jennifer Ehle is his former employee Laura Madden, while Ashley Judd plays herself. Patricia Clarkson is NYT editor Rebecca Corbett and Andre Braugher is executive editor Dean Baquet. As for adversaries, Weinstein never appears full-on, but Peter Friedman plays his oleaginous lawyer nicely: a striking resemblance to Logan Roy’s salaryman-conciliar role in TV’s Successor.
As with movies about newspapers, the challenge is to make ordinary reporting work look interesting, and Toohey and Kantor are often shown talking on their cellphones while taking notes at their desks as they stroll through busy Manhattan streets. But the film coldly conveys the enlightenment-rejected horror that their investigation permeates the film industry, and I appreciate the way the films flesh out the macho clichéd stupidity of journalism: these smart kids aren’t charming and confused, but smart, persistent people doing their job.