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OPINION

Hollywood’s 'She Said' Cinematic Mea Culpa Falls Flat

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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John Carucci

Hollywood’s latest attempt to distance itself from the sleazy sex pest Harvey Weinstein has fallen flat.

She Said is a new film that depicts the true story of two female New York Times journalists, Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan), as they expose sexual abuse allegations against Weinstein.

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Films like Spotlight and All the President’s Men were smash hits that depicted plucky journos holding the powerful to account through sheer determination and grit. 

She Said is not one of those movies. 

The movie’s choice of protagonist is odd given that most Americans rightly view the modern press as antithetical to their interests. Featuring the New York Times as fighters for justice and truth at a moment in time when public trust of the news is at record lows comes off as tone deaf.

Hollywood’s attempts to prop up their Democratic allies in the mainstream press fall flat in the face of repeated and intentional instances of journalistic malpractice.

But if the movie fails to elevate The New York Times, it fails even worse at elevating Hollywood.

She Said’s subject matter hits a bit closer to home for Hollywood than, say, Spotlight. The Catholic Church’s coverup of sexual abuse was about as far removed from Hollywood as you could get. There was almost zero risk that the subjects of Spotlight would bleed into the making of the movie.

Not so with She Said.

Harvey Weinstein was, and in a way still is, Hollywood. The culture of sexual quid pro quo and the casting couch didn’t really go anywhere post Weinstein. 

Are we seriously expected to believe a firmly entrenched culture of sexual favors (that The Atlantic notes was present in the 1920’s, 30 years before Weinstein was even born) was effectively culled by removing one powerful man from his position?

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Hollywood may think She Said is a victory lap for purging a sex pest, but to the rest of America it comes off as completely insane. Everyone knew Weinstein was leveraging sex from actresses in exchange for roles, but no one did anything about it. 

At the 2013 Oscars, Seth McFarlane made a joke about Weinstein and his open secret. McFarlane ribbed, “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein,” to uncomfortable laughter in the crowd. 

Now we’re expected to assume Hollywood has its act together. 

That’s also assuming the #metoo movement that spawned from the whole Weinstein ordeal resulted in any meaningful change. It seems clear now that it didn’t. 

#Metoo took down a few creeps like Matt Lauer and his secret desk button, but then quickly collapsed. 

Americans watched in bewilderment as Christine Blasey Ford was seemingly pulled out of the woodwork in a desperate attempt to sink the nomination of now Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The blatant political nature of the accusation beggared belief, and it became obvious as Blasey Ford’s story fell apart that Democrats had shamelessly tried to weaponize sexual harassment claims to prevent a conservative from ascending to the court.

Not fit simply to be partisan hacks, the radical left then moved into being massive hypocrites. During the 2020 election, a woman named Tara Reade came forward and accused President Biden of sexual assault. The Democrats, and their allies in the media and Hollywood, either ignored the allegation or claimed Reade was lying. 

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It’s on that note that we find She Said: a seemingly out-of-touch interpretation of the #metoo movement.  

While Hollywood might want to whitewash #metoo by painting it as a righteous struggle by women to thrive in the workplace in the face of evil perverts, the real history reveals that to be nothing but a leftist lie. 

She Said fails as a puff piece, a mea culpa for Harvey Weinstein’s behavior, and as a post hoc piece of propaganda for #metoo. 

It also fails at being a movie people want to see. 

Variety reported that the movie made a pathetic $2.2 million its opening weekend, putting it on track to be one of the biggest bombs in cinema history. 

Hollywood could learn a lesson here about Americans are turned off by shameless, self-congratulatory schlock. But they probably won’t. 

They didn’t learn their lesson after Harvey Weinstein either.


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