TV Review: Rose McGowan In 'Citizen Rose' A TV series called Citizen Rose premiered Tuesday on E! It focuses on actress Rose McGowan, who has been one of the loudest voices protesting sexual harassment in Hollywood.


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TV Review: Rose McGowan In 'Citizen Rose'

TV Review: Rose McGowan In 'Citizen Rose'

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A TV series called Citizen Rose premiered Tuesday on E! It focuses on actress Rose McGowan, who has been one of the loudest voices protesting sexual harassment in Hollywood.


Rose McGowan has been one of the loudest voices against sexual harassment inside and outside of Hollywood. She's not afraid to get in people's faces, which has made her a polarizing figure even within the Me Too movement. Now there's a TV documentary series focused on McGowan's activism. It's called "Citizen Rose." The first of five episodes debuted last night, and NPR TV critic Eric Deggans has this review.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Like its outspoken star, "Citizen Rose" offers a bold message designed to make you more than a little uncomfortable. McGowan, a star of TV shows like "Charmed" and movies like "Scream," is one of the highest-profile actresses to publicly accuse producer Harvey Weinstein of assaulting her, and "Citizen Rose" wastes no time in broaching the subject. Early in last night's special, McGowan recalls a morning meeting at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997.


ROSE MCGOWAN: I go in. I had an MTV camera crew following me that morning. It was supposed to be "Rose McGowan: A Day In The Life." I turn to the cameras right as I went into the hotel, and I said, I think my life is finally getting easier. And I - like, that haunted me.

DEGGANS: It was at that meeting, McGowan alleges, that Weinstein raped her. She accepted a $100,000 settlement. He continues to deny sexually assaulting anyone. And she struggled as Hollywood embraced her attacker. On one level, "Citizen Rose" tells a story of slow vindication. It shows McGowan's work as an activist last year as news reports revealed allegations of sexual harassment and assault against powerful men. When McGowan meets with Ronan Farrow, who detailed allegations against Weinstein in The New Yorker, Farrow says allegations that the producer hired people to spy on McGowan seemed preposterous until he reported on them.


RONAN FARROW: You're like the, you know, the guy with the beard and the frazzled hair in a sci-fi movie, you know, saying like, I have the evidence here, doomsday is coming. And everyone's like, he's crazy. And then the twist is always, of course, he's completely right.


DEGGANS: But "Citizen Rose" is also the story of a victim struggling to process trauma, as in this moment, when McGowan is arguing with her mother who resists criticism that she never really talked about her daughter's rape with her.


TERRI: I don't ask you a lot of things 'cause you spent a lot of years talking [expletive] about me. And you didn't want to talk on the phone. And you didn't - you know, it's like, if I asked you a question, it was just like - I can't talk to someone that hates me, is how it felt.

DEGGANS: "Citizen Rose" has its flaws. McGowan seems so focused on telling her own story there isn't much room for others, even when she visits another woman who has accused Weinstein of rape, Italian actress Asia Argento. Following McGowan's vow to never speak Weinstein's name, the show blurs his name in archival clips, garbles mentions of his name in audio and places a black box over his eyes in pictures, which can feel overly dramatic at times. And since the series debuted the same day as her memoir, "Brave," there are accusations she's profiting from the Me Too movement. Still, as Hollywood continues to grapple with allegations of sexual harassment and assault, "Citizen Rose" shows a woman trying to fight back by speaking up and encouraging others to find their voices, which is a pretty powerful message. I'm Eric Deggans.

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