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7/27/2022 • 4 min read
Police procedurals are common on the big screen and on television. Much less common is the journalism procedural. It's a lot harder to make a movie about a couple of people digging for a story, looking up facts, interviewing participants, and releasing a big story into the world. Some might say that it isn’t very cinematic.
But maybe some people just aren’t bringing the right tools to the task. There are great journalism movies, like ZODIAC, SPOTLIGHT, and of course, ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN. These argue that the journalism procedural can be exceptionally cinematic. (That's true even for the visually low-key SPOTLIGHT, which made the time-consuming work of reporting look exactly as exciting as it is.)
Now, SHE SAID, starring Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan, might join the ranks of the great journalism movies. The film movie is based on the 2019 book of the same name by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. The two New York Times journalists exposed Harvey Weinstein's history of sexual misconduct and had a lasting impact on culture as a result.
Now, just a few years after the allegations against Harvey Weinstein were fully reported, and the ramifications of the #MeToo movement are still being felt, it's easy to forget how tightly sealed the Weinstein story had been. Whisper stories had gone around for years, but as the trailer above suggests, the producer was powerful and aggressive enough to shut down any attempt to properly report the story.
So while the trailer's depiction of beige boardrooms and featureless hotels is appropriate, so is the sense of paranoia and fear on the faces of people being asked to testify.
With Carey Mulligan as Megan Twohey and Zoe Kazan as Jodi Kantor, SHE SAID has a lead cast that puts the movie on exactly the right track. There's no one "type" of person who becomes a journalist, of course, but Mulligan and Kazan are both skilled in their ability to generate empathy, and in telling a story with their expressions alone.
Alongside Mulligan and Kazan are Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Samantha Morton, and Tom Pelphrey, among others. We love seeing Clarkson and Braugher in anything, and especially after years of enjoying Braugher on the comedy "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," we like seeing him swing back to a role that parallels his days on "Homicide: Life on the Street."
Production rights to the book by Twohey and Kantor were sold in 2018, and in 2021 Brad Pitt's company Plan B actively began moving forward with the movie. It is directed by Maria Schrader, who made Netflix's series "Unorthodox," for which she won an Emmy. Schrader hails from Germany, and her perspective as a non-American might add something unpredictable to the movie.
Schrader is working from a script by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, a playwright and writer for television ("The Secret Diary of a Call Girl") and movies (COLETTE, DISOBEDIENCE). Lenkiewicz also wrote one of our favorite easy-to-miss movies from the last decade: the Polish movie IDA, about a novitiate nun who learns secrets about her past. It's a beautiful, tender movie, and we hope to see the same sensitive sensibilities on screen in SHE SAID.
All images courtesy of Universal Pictures.
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