“She Said” Is a Testament to Honorable Storytelling


(New York Times)

WARNING: Spoilers ahead.

“She Said” is a film based on the explosive New York Times article that exposed producer and convicted sex offender, Harvey Weinstein. The film recounts the origin of the article while focusing on the two journalists who broke the story. In 2017, Meghan Toehey and Jodi Kantor interviewed many women who had been victims of one of Hollywood’s most powerful executives, Harvey Weinstein. While there had been rumors of Weinstein’s abuse, none of his victims would recount their experience on the record—non-disclosure agreements and payouts silenced them. Some women were not even allowed to bring these moments up with a therapist. With the publication of this story, Toehey and Kantor contributed to the #MeToo movement, as well as significant changes and protections for women in the film industry.

Genevieve W.

The film’s director, Maria Schrader, artfully recounts the experiences of the victims, beginning with the first sequence. The movie opens with a young woman, Laura Madden, running through the woods. She then enters the set of a movie revealing that she is an employee rushing around on location. The movie she’s working on is about the Revolutionary War, America’s origin story as the underdog who revolted against an oppressive king.  The director skillfully uses this scene to introduce Laura Madden as one of many victims who eventually rebels against her oppressor, Harvey Weinstein.  After sexually assaulting Madden in his hotel room, Weinstein, with assistance from his studio’s executives, silenced Laura for 30 years. Therefore,  Madden’s own revolt of sharing her story stands out as a satisfying parallel.   Another detail that I loved was the inclusion  of children’s stickers on Kantor’s computer. At first the stickers seem unremarkable, but these gems remind the audience that the journalists wrote the article to build a better future for young girls. The writers reflect such a sentiment in the line “I can’t change what happened to you in the past, but together we may be able to help protect other people.”

The film is as entertaining as it is enraging. While I felt inspired by the perseverance of Toehey and Kantor, the vast and utter devastation caused by a predator and his complicit associates ignites fury. Unlike other films documenting abuse, “She Said” does not encourage viewers to romanticize the villain of the story—Weinstein’s face is never shown, stripping him of the power he once wielded in controlling the narrative. Women narrate descriptions of abuse over shots of empty hotel rooms, allowing the voices of women to remain the focus of their own story. This detail additionally reinforces the title and credo of the film, “She Said,” as it acts as an opportunity for silenced victims to finally tell their stories in their own voice. 


The film’s lead actors, Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan give excellent performances. After working together on stage in 2008, they hadn’t collaborated since, commenting that they would usually run into one another ‘while auditioning for the same roles.’ It took a film about the mistreatment of women in film to feature two female leads.

Overall, “She Said” is a very well-made and inspiring film about righting wrongs and protecting the next generation. The stories of Meghan Toehey and Jodi Kantor are incredibly awesome and recommend that everyone see this movie!