Story Details

Cinematic Releases: Bombshell (2019) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 1648 days ago on Entertainment - Perhaps some people will look at the subject matter of Bombshell (2019) and think that because these women chose to work at a conservative news station that they somehow deserved the sexual harassment they received. Does Fox News espouse horrible values? Yes, it does. Does that mean that the public should turn a blind eye to harassment that goes on there? Should women be punished for having to take jobs at less than ideal work environments?Bombshell primarily is about the real life 2016 sexual harassment scandal that surrounded Fox News CEO Roger Ailes (John Lithgow). The film begins with some light fourth-wall breaking a la The Big Short (2015) which has news anchor Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) giving the audience a tour of the Fox News building and explaining the power structure and hierarchy. After this introduction the film doesn't really utilize this style of storytelling aside from a few jokes here and there.The film follows three women: Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) a Fox show co-host, Megyn Kelley, and Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie), a fictional character made up for the film who is a young associate producer trying to work her way up the food chain in the office. These women represent three different aspects of a career, the twilight, the height, and just starting out. In this way the film examines how women are treated unfairly on all the various levels. The ball is set in motion by Carlson who files a sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes in the first act.While this is mostly a reenactment of the events that unfolded, Bombshell is also a scathing critique of not only the ideologies of Fox News, but of the rampant sexism that women have to endure when trying to operate under power imbalances that are skewed towards rich men. Fox News is not portrayed in any sort of flattering light, though the film doesn't dig very deep into the other issues of the station (the focus is kept on the women). The tone throughout is droll and snarky, but there are moments where emotions rise and the drama is taken seriously.Charlize Theron is fantastic as Megyn Kelly, and she absolutely nails her speech pattern and mannerisms. Her performance is nuanced and she captures the conflicted cognitive dissonance of Kelly who is trying to reconcile her internalization of the loyalty she feels to Fox News with her dismay at being treated with less respect than she deserves. It's a complex character arc and Theron does a great job.  Nicole Kidman's Gretchen Carlson is more of a side character, but it's compelling to watch her try to fight the system and stay true to her values. Margot Robbie's character is naive and trusting and it's horrible to see her get used and abused because of those traits.This film will very likely be accused of being one-sided, especially by those who worship Fox News, but it's important story that needed to be told. There is a scene where they show pictures of the real women who were sexually harassed by Ailes and snippets of their stories and it is through films like these where they are given a voice that can be heard by a wider audience.--Michelle Kisner

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