“Bombshell” stars Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, and John Lithgow. Released on December 13, 2019, the film follows the female workers of Fox News and their allegations against the founder.
The film is directed by Jay Roach, who also directed films such as “Austin Powers”, “Meet the Parents”, “Dinner for Schmucks”, “The Campaign”, and “Trumbo”. It wasn’t that long ago when a bunch of women are now coming out to accuse famous male celebrities for sexual harassment, but it didn’t happen because of you-know-how. Before Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual allegations, there was another famous man who was convicted of the same crime, and that man was the chairman and CEO of Fox News. This situation was once showcased in the Showtime miniseries “The Loudest Voice”, which depicted the ups and downs of Roger Ailes’ career, back in June, so it didn’t take us very long to get another take on the real-life scandal from the guy who brought us the “Austin Powers” trilogy. This is Jay Roach’s latest trip into drama territory as he attempts to make his way to the winners’ circle during this year’s awards season. Is he able to succeed? Let’s dive into the scandal and find out.
The film’s story centers on the real accounts of three Fox News workers: Megyn Kelly (Theron), Kayla Pospisil (Robbie), and Gretchen Carlson (Kidman). Carlson filed a lawsuit against the organization’s CEO Roger Ailes (Lithgow) for sexual harassment, which resulted in other female workers coming forth to speak out against Ailes. The film showcases the events that lead to the lawsuit as well as the events that happened during and after this process. Keep in mind that this occurred more than three years ago. I can see the importance of this event that’s represented in “Bombshell” not just because it inspired other women to speak out about harassment in a workplace, but also because it showcased how they were treated compared to how the men were treated in a workplace. This type of stuff was once the norm more than 30 years ago, but since we’re in the 2010s and we’re one step closer to the 2020s, it has now become a huge no-no, and sadly, most people still don’t get it. The film respectively illustrated those themes and delivered a well-acted and inspiring drama that's worth talking about. Theron, Kidman, and Robbie deserved the praise they got for their engaging performances as Megyn, Gretchen, and Kayla respectively. Megyn Kelly is another character that Theron can easily sink herself into and you won’t even recognize it’s really her playing the character. The resemblance between the two were pretty remarkable. Kidman still proved herself to be a very talented actress, and Robbie did not disappoint me in terms of her performance. Robbie’s character, Kayla, is one of the female workers who became a victim to Roger Ailes’ harassment and is afraid to speak out. When I saw this scene that involves Roger telling Kayla to lift up her skirt so he can see her legs, I can immediately see the discomfort that Kayla is expressing on her face. I didn’t see it as acting discomfort, it was real discomfort. I thought Robbie did a superb job at portraying this type of character and the film showcased this character arc very well. It’s a bit uncomfortable for people who have been in this situation before, but I can see it as something that’s important to those who want to prevent this from happening to everybody else. While the main three actors are the stars of the show, the supporting cast should deserve some credit for keeping up with them, especially John Lithgow as Roger Ailes and Kate McKinnon as Jess Carr, Kayla’s friend. The best way I can describe Roger Ailes is that he’s an absolute hothead who apparently has a thing for lady legs, and Lithgow was able to master this type of personality effectively. As for Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon, let’s just say that she’s one of the comedians that can also handle drama pretty well. The film’s director, Jay Roach, was able to envision this type of story in a way that’s almost along the lines of “Vice” or “The Big Short”, but he didn’t do that much else to delve even deeper into the film’s subject. There were times where the film’s script by Charles Randolph fell into safe territory in order to make it more watchable for its audience despite its R-rating. I’ve seen other films that deal with certain unnerving themes at a discomforting level, such as “Joker” back in October. That film has themes that were portrayed in an unnerving and emotional way. There’s a couple of uncomfortable moments in “Bombshell”, but it struggled to go beyond those moments when it comes to the emotion behind them. Despite this flaw, the story we got was fine the way it was. I think if they took the time to express some emotion a bit more, this could’ve been a real winner.
Overall, “Bombshell” dropped the ball hard on its subject and the result is a compelling fact-based drama that earns its importance. While the film does feel safe from time to time and the emotion behind its themes is somewhat lacking just a bit, it is held together by its stunning cast and Roach’s respectable sense of direction. It’s not a straight-up masterpiece, but it does have a shot at inspiring people to stand up and speak out against those who done them wrong, especially women, and to respect each other regardless of sex and race. I would recommend this one to those who are familiar with its themes and the cast.