Had enough of Harvey Weinstein? Not just yet.
There’s not a lot of new information in “Untouchable,” a creditable documentary about the scandal that upended Hollywood and unleashed a #MeToo movement across the world, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday night.
But for those eager to hear more about this conundrum of a man – a tastemaker who made culture-defining movies for two decades but was allegedly also a monstrous, serial rapist who damaged the lives of dozens of women – this movie is for you.
The Hollywood crowd in attendance was certainly riveted. It included everyone from former Ticketmaster CEO Fred Rosen to TV legend Norman Lear and his wife Lyn Lear to former MGM CEO Chris McGurk, among others who packed the Marc Theatre.
That’s no surprise, since in some sense Hollywood is still processing the tectonic changes brought on by the investigative bombshells published by The New Yorker and The New York Times. Men and women in the industry are still figuring out what just happened and sorting through what is or is not permitted in the current culture. TimesUp has been created, and meanwhile a dozen other powerful men – including the head of CBS – have been driven from the industry.
What director Ursula Macfarlane’s film does best is place the Weinstein scandal in context, revisiting the early years of Bob and Harvey, two brothers set on challenging the staid parameters of Hollywood filmmaking by making bold choices and supporting daring writer-directors.
In interviews with some longtime Miramax executives, they remind the viewer that before Harvey Weinstein was a monster he was a master movie marketer who picked “Sex, Lies and Videotape,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Cinema Paradiso,” “Shakespeare in Love” and created the model for a successful independent film company.
They were so successful, so uniquely talented that they sold their company to Disney in 1993 and were given a shocking amount of freedom (and money) to continue making movies. And, as it turns out, to continue assaulting women.
The film goes on to interview a series of women, many of whom the viewer will know from the avalanche of media coverage in the past 15 months: former London assistant Zelda Perkins, actresses Paz de la Huerta and Rosanna Arquette, aspiring actress Erika Rosenbaum.
They tell their stories anew. One new voice comes from Hope d’Amore, an early alleged victim of Weinstein who met him when he was still a concert promoter in Buffalo. Her shame at giving in to his advances in a New York hotel room is still close to the surface despite being decades old.
“It’s the collateral damage – what it does to your friends, your relationships – and they don’t know why,” she says. “It steals something.”
We still cannot take the measure of what Harvey Weinstein has stolen from all these women. That will take more time than a documentary can do while the wounds are still so fresh.