Weinstein drama She Said and the other movies about bad men.
Hanna Flint asks, “How effective are these works that try to address systemic male sexual violence, like the movie about the first Harvey Weinstein story?”
It’s been five years since the New York Times exposed disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein for sexual assault, which stoked the flames of the #MeToo movement. It was inevitable that Hollywood would tell this story on the big screen. She Said, which was directed by Maria Schrader and written by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, is a powerful adaptation of the 2019 book She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Light a Fire by Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan play the brave reporters who broke the explosive story.
Since its debut at the 60th New York Film Festival in October, the drama has been praised for the way it tells its story in a way that is similar to 2016 Oscar-winner Spotlight doesn’t make a big deal out of Kantor and Twohey’s work or the survivors’ testimonies against Weinstein. Instead, it shows what goes into such a hard investigation in a way that doesn’t take away from the emotional struggle of the women involved.
Rowena Chiu was one of those “unfamous women trying to do their jobs who were abused by Harvey,” as she said in her own New York Times opinion piece. She was hired to help the Miramax producer in London with his European productions. She says Weinstein tried to rape her at the Venice Film Festival only two months after she started working for him. At that point, her coworker Zelda Perkins confronted Weinstein. Chiu says that Weinstein finally forced her to sign a non-disclosure agreement and give him £125,000 in exchange.
In the movie, Chiu’s traumatic experiences are shown. Chiu told BBC Culture that she had to make a big decision about whether or not she wanted to be in the movie before she even went public with her story. Her accusations were in the original reporting from 2017, but she chose to stay anonymous at that time. Kantor and Twohey’s book did end up naming her, but nine months before it came out, when she hadn’t agreed to have her name included, she remembers going to “a very secret meeting” with fellow Weinstein survivor Laura Madden and Perkins to talk about “the hypothetical movie” in a Hollywood office. ” Because the article was already out and had made such an impact on the world, publishers were excited about Jodi and Megan’s book, and the film rights were almost sold before the book was written, which I think is rare.”
Chiu didn’t want to be in the book or movie at first because she was worried about how her story would be told. She says, “Authors, journalists, podcast hosts, and anyone else who wants a piece of it are all mediators who want to sell books or papers or reach an audience for their own reasons.” “No matter how good and kind that reason might be, it will never match up with what the survivors want. People don’t always like hearing about survivors, maybe because their stories are too raw “she goes on.
“They’re hard and confronting, and because Hollywood makes up stories about real-life events, it can be hard for the survivor to see his or her real story turned into a story made up by Hollywood. The emotional impact is so strong that people start to react to the made-up story more than they do to your real-life story.”