Film ‘She Said’ debuts in Aspen prior to national release | AspenTimes.com
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Film ‘She Said’ debuts in Aspen prior to national release

Aspen Film presents dramatization about sexual abuse and harassment prior to its Nov. 18 nationwide release

Kimberly Nicoletti
Special to The Aspen Times
From left, Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan) in 'She Said.'
Aspen Film

On Oct. 5, 2017, The New York Times’story on Harvey Weinstein paying off sexual-harassment accusers shook the entertainment industry — and the nation.

Whispers of his wrongdoings had circulated for years, but journalists digging for the truth had faced both intimidation from Weinstein and victims’ refusal to go on the record, according to production information from She Said, a film scheduled for release nationwide in theaters Nov. 18.

After spending months investigating, The New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke a story that some call one of the most important in a generation. They ended decades of silence about sexual abuse in Hollywood, discovered the issue of sexual harassment and abuse at work extended well beyond Miramax, and helped propel the #MeToo movement.



Based on The New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation and best-selling book of the same name, She Said details the journey of reporters and editors as they pursued the truth and highlights the courage of survivors and witnesses who came forward to stop predators.

The reporters strived to get to the bottom of why sexual harassment is so persuasive and so hard to address and recognized that “the only way these women are going to go on the record is — if they all jump together,” according to scenes in the film.




“This is bigger than Weinstein. This is about the system protecting abusers,” one scene asserts in the movie.

When survivors of abuse said they didn’t want to be quoted — some of whom were bound by settlements and nondisclosure agreements — Twohey responded: “I can’t change what happened to you in the past, but, together, we may be able to help other people.”

That’s when women — often compelled because they didn’t want their daughters subjected to similar acts of forced power and manipulation — told stories about how they thought they were walking into business meetings in a hotel but quickly found themselves being touched inappropriately, only to be met with threats and sexual demands when they said no.

“I was young, I was scared,” one woman explained in the film.

From left, Hywel Madden (Wesley Holloway), Laura Madden (Jennifer Ehle), and Iris Madden (Justine Colan) in ‘She Said,’ directed by Maria Schrader.
Aspen Film

Throughout much of history, women who accused powerful men of sexual misconduct were “often labeled delusional, jilted, greedy, or liars” and ignored or disgraced, according to production information.

“People tried to write this story before. He (Weinstein) kills it every time,” according to a scene from the trailer.

But, The Times reporters Twohey and Kantor remained committed. Twohey had already covered women who accused Donald Trump of groping, uncovered a dangerous underground network where parents gave away unwanted adopted children, exposed sex-abusing doctors, and was one of the first journalists to show how some police and prosecutors shelved essential DNA evidence collected after sex crimes.

While some films based on a true story walk the line of accuracy a bit like a drunken sailor, Kantor and Twohey said they were impressed by the filmmakers’ “track record in making high-quality, meaningful films (and) their commitment to wanting to tell this story as accurately and with as much integrity as possible.”

While most everyone knows what happened after Kantor and Twohey’s story ran, “what everyone doesn’t know, and what this film is about, is what it took, from everyone involved, for that first story to run,” said producer Dede Gardner.

Producer Jeremy Kleiner said he wanted to tell the story with integrity and honesty, and screenwriter Rebecca Lenkiewicz said she felt it could be both empowering and inspiring, despite its dark subject. The film deals with the topic in a sensitive way, without showing any abuse or even giving Weinstein’s face screentime, said Susan Wrubel, executive and artistic director of Aspen Film.

Aspen Film chose to debut it because of its incredible importance, she said.

“The significance of a movie mogul like Harvey Weinstein facing the music after he persecuted these women is really a massive story,” Wrubel said, noting that it’s also timely, with his trial in Los Angeles. “It’s so endemic in the world and in the film business and in every aspect of entertainment — using power and leverage to make or break a career. A generation of women was silenced … now they’re speaking for an entire generation. It’s really a way to bring the conversation forward.”

As one woman in the film strongly states: “I was silenced. I want my voice back.”

From left, Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan), Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan), Dean Baquet (Andre Braugher), and Rebecca Corbett (Patricia Clarkson) in “She Said.”
Aspen Film
If you go…

What: ‘She Said’

When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9

Where: Isis Theatre, 406 E. Hopkins Ave., Aspen

Tickets: $14 adults, $9.75 seniors (Aspen Film members, free)

More info: aspenfilm.org

Resources for abuse:

  • RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network): 800-656-HOPE (4673) or chat online at onlinerainn.org or visit hotline.rainn.org
  • NSVRC (National Sexual Violence Resource Center): nsvrc.org
  • The 988 Lifeline Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988 or 800-273-TALK, 988lifeline.org