I saw Maria Schrader and Rebecca Lenkiewicz‘s She Said (Universal, 11.18) last night at Alice Tully Hall, and I knew almost immediately I was in good hands…that it had the same kind of subdued but polished, upscale smarty-pants chops that qualified She Said as a close relation of Spotlight and All The President’s Men…a real-world, just-the-facts journalism drama, lean and mean and no Hollywood bullshit.

It’s based on Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s same-titled, best-selling 2019 book…a book that began with their explosive 10.5.17 Times story, and which helped launch the #MeToo movement. Kantor and Twohey’s explosive reporting about the odious, business-as-usual sexual harassments and all-around malignance of Harvey Weinstein rocked the media and showbiz worlds, and there’s never any sense that the film is anything but a re-telling of what actually happened, how it all went down…the unembroidered nitty gritty.

And that was the basis of the trust, enjoyment and respect that I felt all during the two hour-plus length.

The story is basically “everyone’s afraid to talk on the record about what they know” — the same thing over and over and over, but that’s what happened. You know, of course, that the dam will eventually break but you have to be patient and tough it out with Kantor and Twohey, both of whom have families and are coping with the usual big-city tensions. But they’re exacting and persistent and they play their cards carefully, and things finally begin to pan out.

“Highly approvable,” I texted a friend. “Very well done. Very specific and realistic. Believable, adult, well-handled, fact-driven, studious. Plus excellent acting from everyone from the top down.”

Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan are absolutely spot-on as Kantor and Twohey — there’s no disbelieving anything they say or do. And the entire supporting cast is perfect — Patricia Clarkson (Times editor Rebecca Corbett), Andre Braugher (former Times exec editor Dean Baquet), Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Morton, Peter Friedman, an unseen Mike Houston as Harvey Weinstein, Ashley Judd as herself and Saturday Night Live’s James Austin Johnson providing the voice of Donald Trump, who is heard telling Twohey early on that “you’re a terrible person.”

Not to mention the excellent string-quartet score by Nicholas Britell, and the first-rate cinematography by Natasha Braier.

And yet the film kind of flattens out in the final third, and it’s hard to explain how or why. It seems to stop building and gathering force on some level, and the ending…well, it’s fine but I was left with a feeling of very slight disappointment. Now that I’ve had a few hours to think it over I still say that She Said is utterly first rate, even though I would have to say that it’s a notch below Spotlight and maybe two or three notches below All The President’s Men. But still a very respectable, high-grade thing.

What’s missing? Why is She Said, good as it is, subordinate to Spotlight and ATPM?

All I can figure is that there are relatively few standout scenes (although there are a few). Plus it exudes a slight “preaching to the choir” quality. Maybe it’s because I felt more primally stirred by the efforts of a team of Boston journalists to uncover a network of child molestation under the aegis fo the Catholic Church. (A church covering up child molestation does seem more evil than sexual harassment at the hands of a single predator.) Maybe it’s because All The President’s Men is s more absorbing than She Said by way of better writing and scenes that pop out and put the hook in.

But I don’t want to to get caught up in comparing ATPM and She Said. Well, maybe I could do that, come to think…