Capsule Review: She Said (2022)

The first thing that always comes to mind upon mentioning the words “movie” and “journalism” in the same sentence is none other than 1976’s All the President’s Men, which starred Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. That movie may have been over 45 years old but it remains the prime example of how an engaging journalism movie should be. Of course, there were a few good ones as well namely, Zodiac (2007), Spotlight (2015) and The Post (2017).

Now, adding to the rank of the best-of-movie list of investigative journalism is She Said, which is based on New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s 2019 nonfiction book of the same name. The movie begins with a 2016-set prologue when we first met Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan), who is reporting on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s sexual misconduct allegations. While she manages to persuade some of the women to go on the record and her news article is published, it somehow doesn’t affect Trump’s political career but instead subsequently won the presidential election over Hillary Clinton the same year.

After having a baby, Twohey has a tough time coping with postpartum depression and the only thing that keeps her sanity intact is getting back to work as soon as possible.

Samantha Morton in "She Said" (2022)

From there, she teams up with her colleague, Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan) to work on a reporting case involving Miramax head honcho and Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assaults against several women. This includes actresses like Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd (the latter shows up as herself in a cameo appearance) and ex-Miramax employees such as Zelda Perkins (Samantha Morton) and Rowena Chiu (Angela Yeoh). The pair works hard from day to night to get these women to come forward, even though some of them prefer to keep a lid on.

One thing that caught my attention the most is the 129-minute running time for a dialogue-heavy drama like She Said barely feels overlong or laborious. Kudos go to Maria Schrader’s mostly assured direction that keeps me engaged throughout the movie. Plus, it also helps that the always-reliable Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan excel in their respective roles as Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor. Individually speaking, Mulligan is particularly a standout here, where her portrayal as a tough and fearless investigative reporter ranks as among the best acting performances in her career.

The rest of the cast is equally praiseworthy including solid supporting turns from Patricia Clarkson and Andre Braugher as editor Rebecca Corbett and executive editor Dean Baquet respectively.

(L-R) Zoe Kazan, Carey Mulligan, Andre Braugher and Patricia Clarkson in "She Said" (2022)

Still, the movie is not without its fair share of flaws, notably in Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s adapted screenplay that feels somewhat rigid and one-sided. She Said spends so much time on Twohey and Kantor’s clinical procedures of investigative reporting that I wish Schrader would step up on the dramatisation parts of the movie. Then, there’s the subsequent anticlimactic payoff, even though I understand the Harvey Weinstein trial is still ongoing. But this doesn’t mean the movie has to settle down with a watered-down climax that gives me the nagging feeling of “that’s it?

Despite its shortcomings, She Said remains a well-acted investigative journalism drama worth checking out.