No chance Harvey: the charges against Weinstein are so serious his zimmer-frame shuffle just doesn’t cut it | Film


Oscar voters, clear your decks. There’s a new titan in town. Yes, Adam Driver was raw and vulnerable in Marriage Story. Sure, Joaquin Phoenix managed to transform his entire body for Joker. But ask yourself this: have you ever seen a performer as completely dedicated to the sanctity of his craft as Harvey Weinstein was yesterday?

God, it was magnificent. When you think of Harvey Weinstein, a certain image appears in your mind. A big gruff bull of a man, stout and strong and powerful; a man who charged through life, stopping only to wildly overeat or ruin a director’s carefully assembled vision or coerce a number of vulnerable women into uncomfortable sexual acts. That’s the Harvey Weinstein you know.

But yesterday the world was forced to banish that image for ever. Because here was Weinstein the committed actor. Every detail of his courthouse appearance had been meticulously pored over in a doomed bid for unearned sympathy. A lesser sexual aggressor – a Louis CK, maybe, or a Kevin Spacey – would have opted for something subtle, like an eyepatch or a limp, in order to convince the judge that they no longer posed much of a threat.

Not Weinstein, though. The man went full Daniel Day-Lewis. True, your eye may have been drawn to his walking frame at first – a bold choice, certainly, but nobody ever won a court case with nuance – but it lingered at the tennis balls that had been clumsily placed over the legs. “Look at this poor wretch of a man,” they said. “He can’t even afford a walking frame that comes with adequate padding. He has to use tennis balls, like somebody’s nan would.”

His costuming, too, was impeccable. Look at his soft-soled shoes, like a slightly upgraded version of the plimsolls your four-year-old wears in PE class. Look at the too-long tie. See the tucked-in pocket flaps on his jacket. Pay attention to his hair, no longer origami-ed in a way that disguises the ravages of male pattern baldness. Notice, if you will, the meticulous way in which Weinstein’s shirt collar has been folded over the lapel of his suit, making him look less like a powerful movie mogul and more like a long-lost relative given day release from the care home to attend the funeral of an old workmate.

Could you possibly imagine this frail shell of a man angrily masturbating into a plant pot? Of course you couldn’t. This man, in such a situation, would fumble and scrape at his belt until his penis fell as limp and flaccid as the microwaved brisket he presumably eats for his dinner at 3.30pm every day.

And yet this is still Harvey Weinstein. The same Harvey Weinstein who was the recipient of dozens and dozens of sexual abuse allegations from women. The same Harvey Weinstein who was last year charged with rape, sex abuse and sexual misconduct. The same Harvey Weinstein who reportedly hired former Mossad agents to track his accusers and halt the publication of stories about his attacks. The same Harvey Weinstein who single-handedly inspired the #MeToo movement with his long and disgusting history of abhorrent behaviour. It’s the same man. What a transformation! He’s almost unrecognisable! Bravo!

That said, maybe he didn’t go far enough. The allegations made against Weinstein are so severe that simply dressing and acting like a frail old man might not cut it. Perhaps, when his criminal trial begins next week, he could try a little harder. I want to see porridge stains on his shirt. I want to see loose dentures. I want him to lose control of his urinary functions mid-testimony, for crying out loud. This is his big moment. Does he want an award or not?



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