Bombshell Movie Review
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Jay Roach’s fast-paced Bombshell illustrates the toxic environment encountered by (many) women at Fox News throughout Roger Ailes tenure. It’ll make you laugh and walk away angry.
Ailes’ removal as head of Fox News in 2016 was helped along via a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former network anchor Gretchen Carlson. Her allegations were merited by numerous accounts of harassment – represented here by the fictional character Kayla (Margot Robbie) – culminating with Megyn Kelly sharing her encounter with the disgraced executive. The film directly addresses this period.
The film is anchored (no pun intended) by the three female leads. Fantastic performance abound, most notably, Charlize Theron showcases her incredible range – perfectly impersonating Megyn Kelly not only with the help of great prosthetics and makeup design, but also her mannerisms, posture, and speech pattern. Hers is the viewpoint at which Roach depicts much of the film. While it was Gretchen Carlson’s (played by Nicole Kidman) bravery to stand up against this powerful man (John Lithgow), it took a push from Kelly to bring him down. That push doesn’t happen until the final act as Kelly spends most of the film analyzing the potential fallout and waiting to see if any colleagues will support Carlson’s claims. But ultimately, she fears for her job and future.
That’s the problem. I understand its much more complicated than that. As Robbie’s character puts it, “It’s all of our jobs” to speak up.
Bombshell keeps the narrative moving along at a brisk and amusing pace. Charles Randolph (The Big Short) lends writing duties to include copious finger-pointing and conservative paranoia that will keep audiences engaged in the absurdity of this sexist culture but not wholly distract from its purpose.