Bombshell is based on the very real story inside one of the most powerful, and undoubtedly controversial, Fox News and the media empire behind it, led by Rupert Murdoch and CEO Roger Ailes. This centres around the latter, as director Jay Roach‘s film tells the story of the women who brought him down and the shocking revelations that led to his departure. It’s a timely film, significantly linked to the #MeToo movement and a scandalous insight into work-place sexual abuse that numerous women had gone through, over a series of years.
Focusing in on three ambitious, smart women at Fox News, Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron), Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) and newsroom-based associate Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie), these women put their own lives and careers at risk in the hope that standing up for themselves, and other women, would start to change things in the industry, even when it fought against them to cover up the truth.
While much of the film follows Charlize Theron’s Kelly and her resourcefulness in helping to discover truth from other women in the business, as well as Gretchen Carlson’s sexual abuse allegations which helped kick everything off, this really was an eye-opener but also, and very sadly, not surprising when it comes to the abuse of power by men in high positions, much like we’ve learned with the loathsome, and thankfully now convicted, Harvey Weinstein.
As uncomfortable as much of it should be to watch and learn, they seem to actually go a little easy on Roger Ailes (intelligently portrayed by John Lithgow) according to those who had the horrific experience of his harassment. While he does come off as a creep, there’s also a slight poignancy sold, which almost suggests ‘Sure, he was a sexual predator but, you know, he also helped people’ which may be true, but I’m still not sure why we have to sit back and underplay it, especially when it comes to people like him.
However, telling the story of another crucial moment that aided the #MeToo motion into further strength and action is vital to see on-screen. This is also a tremendous female cast with three of the best in the world right now leading the way. While they might have different perspectives for us to learn, each are powerhouses and it’s great to see such an ensemble full of talent, working from the script of Charles Randolph.
Theron is quite uncanny as Megyn Kelly, Kidman plays Carlson in an almost back-seat role but if her character hadn’t taken such a huge leap, then the story wouldn’t exist. Robbie’s Kayla is a composite of women who worked in the Fox office at the time of the story, and her relationship and insight with Kate McKinnon‘s Jess obviously offers us an insight into the many. It’s strong, incredible work from all alongside the likes of Connie Britton, Mark Duplass, Rob Delaney, Malcolm McDowell and Allison Janney.
Bombshell is an experience, and one that everybody should take time to watch. It’s not just essential today, but also for the future of equality for all, for now and the future.