‘She Said’ Shines a Thrilling Beacon

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She Said (CREDIT: Universal Pictures)

Starring: Zoe Kazan, Carey Mulligan, Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Morton, Angela Yeoh, Ashley Judd

Director: Maria Schrader

Running Time: 129 Minutes

Rating: R for Detailed Discussions of Sexual Assault

Release Date: November 18, 2022 (Theaters)

What’s It About?: Looking back now (and even while it was going on), the downfall of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein seems like it was inevitable. But it wasn’t going to just happen on its own. Instead, of course, it required the dedication of plenty of dogged people. This included the work of New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor. They’re played in She Said by Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan, respectively. The movie firmly establishes itself in a long and beloved line of based-on-a-true-story thrillers about journalists uncovering abuses of power. Twohey and Kantor have a lot of non-disclosure agreements to work around, and a lot of sources rightfully scared of retribution, but they also have the wherewithal for their simple sense of right and wrong to guide them towards what needs to be done.

What Made an Impression?: She Said could have easily been a traumatizing and depressing experience. Its focus, after all, is on one of the most famous people to have ever been accused and convicted of harassment, assault, and rape. But it doesn’t linger in the darkness any more than it has to, and I’m so thankful about how fully rounded the portrayals of Twohey and Kantor are. Despite reporting on the worst of humanity, they still manage to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. There’s one scene in particular when they’re about to go interview a source, and they discover that they’re wearing basically the same white summer dress, so Kantor declares the two of them “reporting twins.” That’s basically the cutest thing ever, and it’s fully genuine despite being stuffed between all the horrors. And the glimpses into their home lives with their husbands and young kids are similarly adorable in a slice-of-life way.

The rest of the cast is filled with veterans providing welcome support, like Andre Braugher and Patricia Clarkson in the newsroom; and Samantha Morton, Jennifer Ehle, and Ashley Judd (as herself) among the sources. But perhaps the most crucial creative contribution comes from composer Nicholas Britell, who’s probably best known for his award-nominated work on Barry Jenkins and Adam McKay projects. That’s already a fair range of tones and genres he’s put out, and he knows exactly what the assignment is in this case. Namely, it’s all about setting a vibe of constantly pulse-pounding action. The action in this case involves making phone calls, driving across town, booking impromptu flights, and clacking away at the keyboard. It’s not the stuff of whizbang wizardry, but it’s essential and requires a steady hand, and the score is there to constantly, safely remind us that.

She Said is Recommended If You Like: All the President’s Men, Spotlight

Grade: 3.5 out of 5 NDAs

2015 Emmy Nominations Predictions and Wishlist

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For my detailed thoughts on my predictions and wishlists in the major Drama, Comedy, and Variety categories, check out these links:
Comedy
Drama
Variety

Guest Actor, Comedy
John Hawkes, Inside Amy Schumer
Michael Rapaport, Louie
Chris Gethard, Parks and Recreation
Dwayne Johnson, Saturday Night Live

Guest Actress, Comedy
Susie Essman, Broad City

Guest Actor, Drama
Mel Rodriguez, Better Call Saul

Guest Actress, Drama
Allison Janney, Masters of Sex
Linda Lavin, The Good Wife

Directing, Comedy
Rob Schrab, “Modern Espionage,” Community

Directing, Drama
Adam Arkin, “The Promise,” Justified

Writing, Comedy
Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna, “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television,” Community

Writng, Drama
Thomas Schnauz, “Pimento,” Better Call Saul

Animated Program
Bojack Horseman – “Downer Ending”
American Dad! – “Dreaming of a White Porsche Christmas”
The Simpsons – “Treehouse of Horror XXV”

Commercial
Android – “Friends Furever”

Host – Reality/Reality Competition
RuPaul, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”

Interactive Program
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Main Title Design
Man Seeking Woman

Single-Camera Picture Editing, Comedy
Bojack Horseman – “Downer Ending”

Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program
Too Many Cooks
Billy On The Street With First Lady Michelle Obama, Big Bird And Elena!!!

Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or a Variety Program
Community

Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role
Man Seeking Woman – “Traib”