“We should have known this.”
“Someone must have known.”
Tarana Burke founded the MeToo movement well over a decade ago and people still continue to act shocked about sexual abuse in Hollywood. In 1981, Delphine Seyrig directed the documentary Sois Belle et Tais-Toi (“shut up and be beautiful”). Thirty-seven years later, Barry Avrich has directed The Reckoning: Hollywood’s Worst Kept Secret, so that viewers can once again pretend to be shocked by this widespread victimization in Hollywood.
Using the rise and fall of Harvey Weinstein as a starting point, this documentary begins to snake through the various abusive scumbags in Hollywood and beyond, all the way up to the white house. Some of the allegations are given more screen time than others, specifically those that have had confessions and will not lead to slander charges, but there is a fairly expansive case study involved here.
However, as mentioned earlier, this documentary is not particularly groundbreaking. If you have minimal understanding of the MeToo phenomenon, this is a great way to catch up. If you have kept up, this documentary will not add much. On top of that, there are two major issues that serve to make this a bit of a frustrating view. The more major of the two is the way that the filmmaker has given every subject the ability to suggest what the “real” problem is. So, when Hollywood sexual abuse is somehow placed upon the shoulders of Meryl Streep, it seems like this doc could have used some tighter editing.
On a similar note, the appearance of right-wing graffiti artist Sabo sticks out like a sore thumb, as he is both the disagreeing voice and perhaps the only person in any documentary to use the word “soyboy.” Giving “the other side” a voice in a documentary that shows that being accused of sexual abuse can make you president seems kind of disingenuous.
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Shahbaz Khayambashi: @Shakhayam