“The #MeToo movement was at the front lines in getting people to pay attention to this. Then it becomes institutionalised by these films and TV shows which people will continue to be able to watch years and years later in a way they won’t be watching news coverage of #MeToo,” says Thompson.
Australian writer and director Kitty Green described The Assistant, which opens in Australia in April, as about predatory bosses. She based the film on interviews with more than 100 women working in industries ranging from show business to technology and engineering. “A lot of men come out [of watching the film] feeling very uncomfortable,” Green says. “I think a little bit of discomfort is what we need right now if we want things to change.”
Promising Young Woman, which is released in April, takes a different tack. It’s a black revenge comedy starring Carey Mulligan as a woman who ruthlessly turns the tables on the bad behaviour of both men and women.
Director Emerald Fennell, who also wrote the script, said the film goes beyond #MeToo to take a wider look at decades old sexist culture. “There’s nothing in it that isn’t extremely commonplace,” says Fennell. “I’m much more interested in our culture and thinking, how are we all part of this awful knot that we need to unpick?”
The Morning Show, produced and directed by women, is set around the personal and professional earthquake following the firing of a likeable anchor, played by Steve Carell, on a US television show. One of his victims commits suicide after reporting his behaviour but being silenced by network executives. “It’s about gender dynamics, power dynamics, abuse of power and not just sexual abuse of power,” says Jennifer Aniston, who plays Carell’s loyal professional partner and friend.
Aniston describes Carell’s character as a “sort of gentle, charismatic narcissist”.
Curb Your Enthusiasm takes a satirical approach. Larry David, playing a cantankerous version of his rich, white male TV producer self, repeatedly stumbles into sexually inappropriate situations with women, while his manager, played by Jeff Garlin, is repeatedly mistaken for Weinstein.
“Curb Your Enthusiasm is supposed to make us uncomfortable, but some of the ways it is treating this is really kind of dicey,” says Thompson. The comedy series has won some of its best reviews in 10 years.
Other #MeToo content includes the movie Bombshell, starring Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie, and television series The Loudest Voice, starring Russell Crowe, about multiple sexual harassment allegations at Fox News that led to the ouster in 2016 of founder Roger Ailes. Ailes denied the accusations and died a year later.
Thompson believes it’s all just the start of a wider trend. “There is still a lot, lot more to tell about this story and these events.”