How do you make a movie about a monster?

Five years ago, New York Times reporters Megan Toohy and Judy Kantor published the story of Harvey Weinstein’s gross and violent abuse of his power in the New York Times. Two years later, in 2019, they wrote a book about it. What makes their book so intriguing—it’s utterly enjoyable, and a demanding read—is its meticulous attention to work two inches forward, and one inch back to report such an explosive story. Getting the facts right, crafting an airtight legal and ethical disclosure, and avoiding the best defenses power and money can buy is no easy feat. They took it off, and the book explains how.

But Twohey and Kantor’s book is mostly about texting reluctant sources and rejecting frightened victims, and while it’s great on the page, none of that is cinematic in nature. So I was delighted and stunned, to realize that the movie was written by She said (November 18) The tone and substance hold brilliantly, with Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan starring as Twohey and Kantor. The way I dealt with the threatening existence of Weinstein himself was much more intelligent.

I watched the movie written by She said On a cold October day in New York, just blocks from the Times Square building where reporters did their work, he eventually encountered Weinstein himself. I just realized that morning, thanks to my “memories” on Facebook, that the story broke five years ago. Somehow, it’s been five long years since #MeToo. I remember the rushing feeling that hung in the air at the time—the sense that something in Hollywood and the world at large was changing, that long-accepted exploitation was being punished, and that nothing would ever be the same. It was scary. It was exciting.

Now, with the film approaching its November release, Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence for sex crimes in New York. He is being tried in Los Angeles on rape charges, and arguments will begin Monday, October 24; He also faces charges in London. He is 70 years old and, according to his lawyer, is in poor health. It is safe to say that he will die in prison. He’s an outcast in the industry that has pampered him for so long, a response that at times seems like an attempt to purge their consciences like any actual occasion of virtue. (After all, the powerful person accused of abusing his power today appears to be complaining about “abolition of culture” as well as an apology.)

But Weinstein, and all that happened after his downfall, still loomed large over the industry. TV and Movies – From Rich Complex storehouseabout a female musician who takes advantage of a young man’s sanctuary, for the upcoming second season of HBO’s vow, which exposes the abuses of self-help guru and NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere—I feel that they could not have existed without Weinstein’s story infuriating everyone. Say “Harvey” out loud, and everyone knows who you’re talking about. And in casual conversations, new accusations against other characters tend to be mentally measured against his crimes – it’s as if Weinstein is a measuring device with which nearly everyone looks bad, but isn’t. as such bad. If we punish him enough, you can almost hear the unconscious cultural contemplation, then perhaps everything can return to normal in one form or another. As if it is the man who is important and not the system.

Zoe Kazan, Carey Mulligan, Andre Bruger and Patricia Clarkson in She said.
Universal Pictures

It’s nearly impossible to deal with Weinstein’s shadow effectively, and the industry is still scrambling, partly because efforts like Time’s Up have faltered and partly because so much Hollywood that would make a movie about it is somehow complicit.

But the biggest reason is simply that Harvey has struggled so hard throughout his career to cast that shade. It was so effective that most of the industry eventually fell under it. (One of the most satisfying moments in She said It comes when we find out that when Weinstein met Martin Scorsese, it was like that Weinstein who was nervous because Scorsese “hates” him).

How wealthy Harvey was in the industry – and the way his presence stifled so many, whether he directly assaulted them or not – has been made clear. the assistantKitty Green is the 2019 blockbuster movie starring Julia Garner. The central character is a young woman with a new job in the film industry. Mostly, we follow her through her day and do menial tasks, such as making travel arrangements and looking after visitors through the office. We don’t get a clear look at her boss and only hear his voice a little.

But we know it’s Harvey. You can feel him in the room even when he is not there, the danger of his temper is very intense and suffocating in the air. Watch the assistantYou are Feel The anxiety and dread that came with crossing his path. To obscure the sun’s shadow. The worst movie would have him thundering in the room, gasping and screaming, showing what he feels most deeply in the void. (See, for example, the portrayal of Roger Ailes in the 2019 movie Abysmal bomb.) Without him physically present, our imaginations fill in the details.

Which is in a sense what we’ve all been doing for years. You may not have known Harvey, but you probably know someone like him. Your memories fill in the blanks. Even in disgrace, men like him tend to suck up all the air in the room, inevitably to bring the discourse back to themselves. as such She said Richly illustrated, it says that identifying yourself can elicit more abuse from the public, so many choose to remain anonymous as much as possible. So we’re still sitting here five years later, using “Weinstein” as an acronym, and we’ll be for a long time.

This is what makes the movie like She said Or the next unintended companion piece woman talking Highly effective: they both focus the women, rather than attacking them, by pushing the latter off the screen as much as possible. She said It is the story of two women who are not direct victims of the man they investigate, but who live, as the film shows, in some key scenes, in a culture that nourishes him and his ilk. In one scene, Mulligan (as Toohy) shouts at a man in a bar who won’t leave them alone. In another movie, Kazan (as Cantor), discovers, in her drenched horror, that her young daughter knows the word “rape”—albeit not its full meaning—because the kids at school throw it out.

A group of Mennonite women were speaking;  Now they turned around to look at something outside the frame.

women woman talking.
United Artists Release

Similarly, in woman talking, a group of Mennonite women who have been systematically raped by men from their community for years, must decide how to proceed. Do they stay and fight? Should they leave and create a new community? Is it better to stay and hope things get better? The movie spends nearly all of its running time in a barn loft with the women as they talk about what to do next.

She said Focuses on Twohey, Kantor, and the women who have come forward because they take action like this woman talking He spends nearly all of his time with women trying to decide how to deal with gruesome abusers. Both films show women trying to figure out what it would take to not only ensure that perpetrators meet justice but to build a world where continued acceptance of their crimes is unimaginable in the first place.

Not only does keeping abusers off screen keeps our focus on women who take their fates into their own hands, but it also starves abusers for exactly what they want: attention. An opportunity to get rid of accusations. An opportunity to bring themselves back to the center of the story.

Both She said And the woman talking They carry their theses in their titles: that the abuser’s goal is to keep his victim silent and that the talk is how their power can be broken, at least if the right person is listening. But there is no end in declaring victory because the victims who raise their voices are suddenly not free. in She said, Weinstein’s Victims, performed particularly exceptionally by Jennifer Eyl and Samantha Morton (plus Ashley Judd, as herself), reminds us that there are thousands of such stories, and none of them are simply resolved now. Wounds leave scars.

Five years later, we’re still trying to step out of Harvey’s shadow; Other defendants are fleeing their consequences. Their names still dominate the headlines, and it is their toxicity that still attracts those desperate to maintain their stranglehold on power. It is ironic, but enlightening, that snatching the spotlight away from them–the only thing that can truly break their power, and which shifts the focus from the man to the system that has enabled him–falls to those who know so well, that change does not make the world with one vivid story, But an inch at a time.

She said Opens in theaters November 18. woman talking Opens in theaters December 2. the assistant It streams on Hulu and is available for rent or purchase on digital platforms.

#movie #monster

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