She Said Is an Ode to Journalism, a Profession That Doesn't Get Much Love These Days

She Said is the story of how Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Kantor (Zoe Kazan) wrote the article that brought down Weinstein, a serial sex offender, and sow the seeds of a worldwide movement.
IMAGE Universal Pictures

In 2016, New York Times reporter Megan Twohey wrote several exposes on Donald Trump and how he treated women, about how he kissed them without their permission, and “grabbed them by the pussy.” In November the same year, Trump became President.

On his 76th birthday, then President Rodrigo Roa Duterte jokingly reached out to grab the help’s crotch as she brought him a cupcake to blow. Duterte would routinely crack jokes about rape and objectified women, at one point even telling soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

This is the world women live in, and it’s terrifying.

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Most men don’t understand it, the constant state of fear that women live in, where men get away with normalized misogyny. That’s why when Twohey and fellow reporter Jodi Kantor exposed Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, it opened the door to women telling their stories of sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace and everywhere else. The floodgates were opened, and it was impossible—and immoral—to look away.

Twohey and Kantor’s work sparked the #MeToo movement, radically changing workplace culture and helping craft policies and laws to protect women. The hashtag “Me Too” is intended to show empathy and help remind women that they aren’t alone. But in writing about Weinstein, Twohey and Kantor, as well as all the women they spoke with in their investigative research, were very much alone.

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She Said is the story of how Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Kantor (Zoe Kazan) wrote the article that brought down Weinstein, a serial sex offender, and sow the seeds of a worldwide movement. In 2020, Weinstein was convicted on two counts of rape and sexual assault and sentenced to 23 years in prison. From his cell, the rapist, who for some reason still employs a spokesperson, gloated about how She Said debuted poorly at the box office, opening to a dismal $2.2 million against a $30 million budget.

Photo by Universal Pictures.

Spokesperson Juda Engelmayer, speaking to Variety on behalf of the serial abuser, said that the story of #MeToo and the details of Weinstein’s case has been told over and over such that there’s little worth in paying to see it. “Movie watchers want to be entertained,” she said. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is out in theaters at the same time. It’s not entirely inaccurate.

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But not all films intend to entertain. Sometimes, films are important because they need to be watched and rewatched to remind us of things that matter. She Said matters. It matters because it shows the struggle that Twohey and Kantor went through just to put the story out, something that’s noticeably absent from all the news about Weinstein.

In fact, the most remarkable thing about She Said is how it reminds us that journalism is a serious profession. In a country where the President himself dismisses journalism in favor of bloggers and vloggers, it’s important to be reminded that news and feature articles that come out on so-called mainstream media is often meticulously researched, vetted, and supported with interviews and data.
Most people place so little importance on truth and even less value in its pursuit. We forget sometimes how difficult it is to get the truth and to tell the truth, even when everybody already knows it. The fact that Weinstein had gotten away with so much criminal behavior for decades despite so many people already knowing what he was doing is a shameful stain not only on Hollywood but on a society that protects and enables men in power to get away with so much.

We let the powerful get away with too much.

Twohey and Kantor, brilliantly portrayed by Mulligan and Kazan, didn’t let Weinstein get away. They couldn’t. Something wrong, something very wrong, and very sick was happening in the heart of Hollywood and there was a story they needed to tell. She Said tells the story behind that story and it’s important to appreciate the struggle to get it right.

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That’s the point. It isn’t entertaining. It’s painful. It’s meant to be. It’s meant to be frustrating and sad because that’s the reality that women go through. It isn’t easy, just like Twohey and Kantor’s pursuit of truth wasn’t easy. We forget that. In fact, the ones in power want people to never know how difficult it is to pursue truth, or remind us that the truth is dangerous and can get you shot in the face by two men on a motorcycle while you’re stuck in traffic on the way home to BF Resort Village.

This is our reality here in the Philippines. Twohey and Kantor weren’t in much physical danger, although there were death threats involved, but they met wall after wall after wall that halfway through the film you’re filled with so much despair that only the knowledge that Weinstein is now in jail snaps you out of it. Truth is hard, but it’s worth it.

She Said is an ode to a profession that doesn’t get much love these days. The demonization of mainstream media, the relentless attacks on journalists and publications, has worked to devalue the work of journalists. But Twohey and Kantor aren’t your kanto-side Marites or purveyors of fake news. They probably would never get a job in this or the past administration. That’s why She Said is  refreshing and, at the end of almost 129 minutes, even cathartic.

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Because sometimes the truth wins. Maybe Twohey’s articles on Trump failed to slow his ascent in 2016. But that didn’t deter her from assisting Kantor in her investigation of Weinstein, and the world is better for it. Women have it tough. Journalists have it tough. But sometimes, things go the right way and a spark is lit for change. It’s a start. Women have started to speak. We just need to listen.

She Said is out in theaters now.

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Hugo Zacarias Yonzon IV
Zach Yonzon is a cake artist and co-owner of Bunny Baker
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