Movie review

“She Said” is a story about storytelling; about two journalists putting together the pieces of a tale nobody wanted to tell. Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey are two real-life investigative journalists at The New York Times who five years ago broke a landmark story about how film producer Harvey Weinstein used his position in the industry to sexually assault and harass women, often paying them later to keep silent. Weinstein is now a convicted sex offender, currently in the midst of a second trial in Los Angeles on additional sexual assault charges; it was the work of Kantor and Twohey, along with that of Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker, that helped bring him to justice.

Directed by Maria Schrader, “She Said” is a journalism movie following in the footsteps of “All the President’s Men” and “Spotlight”: A team of reporters chases an elusive story, doing the hard work of constant phone calls, door-knocking, tip-chasing, finding that faint line that connects the dots. And while it’s got a few of the problems endemic to journalism movies — scene after scene of people asking questions isn’t particularly cinematic, and too often people in the newsroom seem to be having a conversation for the benefit of the audience — it’s a moving and engaging film about finding truth, told through the perspective of two people who are very, very good at their jobs.

What makes “She Said” unique is that this is a story of women. Jodi (played by Zoe Kazan) and Megan (Carey Mulligan) are journalists and busy working mothers; we see them taking work phone calls while making school lunches or walking a baby in the park. And while the film is less about Jodi and Megan than about the story they uncover, there’s a touching, quiet subplot — beautifully acted by Mulligan — in which Megan struggles with postpartum depression, and finds a haven in returning to work. (Watch her opening the door to the Times offices on her first day back from parental leave; she grabs the handle emphatically, like it’s a portal to a world she can’t wait to reenter.)

We don’t see any scenes of sexual assault in this film (indeed, we barely see Weinstein, though his voice is occasionally heard), and we don’t need to: It’s enough to hear the halting voices and see the haunted eyes of the women remembering. “It was like he took my voice that day, when I was just about to start finding it,” says Laura Madden (Jennifer Ehle), slowly, letting us see just a glimpse of a trauma deeply buried. Ashley Judd, the first Hollywood star to go public with accusations against Weinstein, movingly plays herself; a scene in which she tells Jodi she’s willing to be named in the story is an emotional turning point.

As a journalist myself, I watched “She Said” wishing it could be everything: I wanted to know more about editor Rebecca Corbett (Patricia Clarkson, who can create an entire world for a character in just a few lines, but who deserved more screen time); I wanted more connection to Jodi and Megan’s work and the #MeToo movement; I wanted to see what happened after an NYT copy editor finally pressed “publish.” But I nonetheless left “She Said” satisfied by a story that continues to this day (Kantor and Twohey are still at the NYT, uncovering truth) and warmed by the pleasure of watching two badass women make history together — and, along the way, become friends. In one scene, heading home late at night in a shared cab, Jodi tenderly puts a coat over a sleeping Megan; they’re taking care of each other, to fight another day.

“She Said” ★★★ (out of four)

With Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Morton. Directed by Maria Schrader, from a screenplay by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, based on the New York Times investigation by Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey and Rebecca Corbett and the book “She Said” by Kantor and Twohey. 129 minutes. Rated R for language and descriptions of sexual assault. Opens Nov. 18 at multiple theaters.