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Review: The Reckoning: Hollywood’s Worst Kept Secret

November 23, 2018

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

A followup of sorts to his previous documentary Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project, Barry Avrich’s The Reckoning: Hollywood’s Worst Kept Secret uses the revelations of sexual assault that took down legendary mogul Weinstein last fall as the jumping off point for an exposé on sexual abuse in Hollywood.

Featuring interviews with a wide range of voices, the film sparks a much larger discussion about the structures in place that have allowed people to abuse their power for far too long, and the many others that have enabled this “casting couch” culture either directly or merely by staying silent.

The film takes us through the fallout from the Weinstein scandal, including the allegations that surfaced against other prominent figures like James Toback and Louis C.K., and the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements that have sparked international and wide-ranging conversations over the past year.

The film is also interesting in that it includes more controversial voices like Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente; criminal defence lawyer Marie Henein, who infamously got Jian Ghomeshi acquitted of his sexual assault charges; as well as the outspoken street artist Sabo, who put up the “she knew” posters calling out Meryl Streep and other complicit celebrities. This really helps balance out the larger conversation, and The Reckoning also directly brings up claims that #MeToo has gone too far in some cases and become somewhat puritanical in its approach, and whether you agree with that sentiment or not, the film is all the stronger for addressing it.

The result is an informative and up to the minute overview of the #MeToo movement thus far, that ignites important conversations we all need to be having right now. The only issue that the film doesn’t really address is pedophilia in Hollywood, so I would recommend also watching Amy Berg’s explosive documentary An Open Secret, which is available for free on Vimeo, for an equally important look at that aspect of the ongoing sexual abuse epidemic.

The Reckoning: Hollywood’s Worst Kept Secret is now playing in limited release at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema in Toronto, tickets and showtimes can be found right here.

A version of this review was originally published during the 2018 Hot Docs Film Festival.

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