Mark Bernstein ’83, Dean Jill Dolan, and a pail of popcorn outside the Princeton Garden Theatre.
‘This movie tries to honor this moment of feminist resistance to male power, as well as making heroes of the press reporters’
There is a Hollywood category of newspaper exposé movies: consider All the President’s Guy (Watergate), The Post (the Pentagon Papers), and Spotlight (sexual abuse in the Catholic Church). To this list include She Said, which covers the examination by New York Times reporters Megan Twohey (played by Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (played by Zoe Kazan) of Hollywood manufacturer Harvey Weinstein for sexual misconduct dedicated over several years. The set won a Pulitzer Reward for their reporting, which contributed to Weinstein’s subsequent conviction and imprisonment. She Said is written and directed by females.
For our newest installation of PAW Goes to the Movies, senior author Mark F. Bernstein ’83 invited Dean of the College Jill Dolan to see the motion picture and discuss it afterwards. Dolan is likewise a professor of English and theatre and efficiency research studies in the Lewis Center for the Arts, as well as a blog writer, theater critic, and the author of 7 books on theater, gender, and sexuality. She was the first blogger to win the prominent George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism in 2011.
MFB:What did you believe?
JD:I thought it was fantastic. The heroes of these paper press reporter motion pictures are generally guys. It was wonderful to see a group of female press reporters and how their characters altered the story. We see them in your home, we see them with their children and partners. We see them experience the work-versus-life tension in intriguing methods. It’s terrific, for example, that the two reporters very first bond over having hard very first pregnancies and their basic absence of sentimentality about motherhood.
MFB:How did the filmmakers approach this story in a different way than in those other paper films?
JD:This story is various due to the fact that it has to do with the costs of sexual assault and harassment on ladies and about the females who inform the story of Weinstein’s abuse of his power. But the filmmakers could have informed it as a straight newspaper reporter hero story, however. So the option to include so much of these ladies’s individual lives and even to layer and texture the relationship in between them was an excellent opportunity to think about the ways in which they work in a place that has its own history of gender imbalance also. At one point, Carey Mulligan’s character asks, “Why should we do this? It’s just a story about Hollywood actresses and who will care?” and Zoe Kazan’s character describes, “It’s a work environment issue.” I believed that was a deft touch.
MFB:Among the early scenes covers Twohey’s protection of Donald Trump’s sexual misbehavior during the 2016 governmental campaign. There is even a scene in which we hear Trump berating her over the phone. Why did the filmmakers decide to include that?
JD:I picture in part due to the fact that those scenes put the story of the #MeToo motion and the Weinstein case in a wider political and historic framework. Later on in the movie, Twohey is uncertain whether she wants to work on the Weinstein story and states, “I composed these stories about Trump and the man was elected anyway,” which neatly concerns what power reporters really have at this moment in history. These reporters’ stories about Weinstein, obviously, assisted spark the #MeToo motion.
MFB:This movie varies from the other newspaper motion pictures because we also see a few flashbacks to the victims rather than focusing entirely on the press reporters trying to break the story. Why do you think they did that?
JD:Clearly, Twohey and Kantor are the heroes of the story here, however in an extremely various method than in, state, All the President’s Male. This film tries to honor this minute of feminist resistance to male power, along with making heroes of the reporters. One of the postscripts at the end of the motion picture states that 82 ladies ultimately stepped forward against Weinstein. In a sense, those ladies are the genuine heroes, in regards to changing workplace culture.
MFB:There are a couple of scenes involving Lanny Davis (played by Peter Friedman), a lawyer who has actually been a Democratic Party activist however, in this case, worked for Weinstein. What did you think of those?
JD:When Davis meets the reporters, he presents himself as someone trying to be a “good guy,” however he is also trying to safeguard his client. He’s an apologist for Weinstein, informing the reporters that Weinstein’s conduct was generational, that he simply didn’t understand the guidelines, and so on. In this case, screenwriter Rebecca Lenkiewicz took a character and a minute that could have been presented as black and white and made Davis and his engagements a lot more nuanced.
MFB:Are there other methods which this motion picture breaks the mold of those other paper films?
JD:We see women listening to one another with empathy and care. The press reporters often ask each other or the women they’re speaking with, “Are you OK?” Those other paper movies had to do with the power of the reporter. Here, Twohey and Kantor understand keenly what they’re asking the women they interview to do in going on the record versus Weinstein, and what the cost and repercussions will be. The screenplay does not protect the exact same separation in between reporter and subject. Twohey and Cantor even ask each other if they’re sorry they composed the story. You ‘d never ever see that uncertainty from Woodward and Bernstein.
See the trailer for She Said: