The Pox at Fox: A Review of ‘Bombshell’
‘Bombshell’ is a painstaking, and brutally honest, examination of an early #MeToo scenario at Fox News, and why there’s still such a long way to go before sexual harassment can truly be addressed
Just as Harvey Weinstein at Miramax had been at it for decades before women started speaking out, there was Roger Ailes at Fox News. Things came to a head with Ailes in 2016, right in the midst of the Presidential election that would see Donald Trump ascend to the presidency, and from the film’s outset, Trump does cast a long shadow on the proceedings. Fox, and Ailes, have been regarded as allies of the President, and it was Fox news anchor Megyn Kelly questioning Trump’s record on women in 2016 that spurred a lot of what’s presented in this film.
On a side note, Charlize Theron, who plays Kelly, is one of the film’s producers, and when the initial studio backing the film pulled out, her commitment to this project saw her finding new funding in a matter of hours. As such, it stands as one of the first fact-based films that chronicles what the #MeToo is all about, and stands for.
Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly opens the film with a narration that breaks the fourth wall, effectively bringing home the power structure and atmosphere at the network, and why it was so much easier to let things slide, and for the harassment to exist… and persist. Charlize really channeled Kelly, and even took on a voice coach to sound like Kelly throughout the film.
More on the transformation, Bombshell won an Oscar for Best Make-Up and Hairstyling, and we immediately see how this was well-deserved, especially so in the case of Ailes, played by a practically unrecognizable John Lithgow.
Nicole Kidman is Gretchen, the anchor on her way out, and the one who smartly filed a case against Ailes personally, and not against the network. Margot Robbie is terrific as Kayla, the ambitious, evangelical influencer who’s trying to get ahead in the network. Initially a one-note character that we may even find ridiculous, Kayla has the most telling character arc, and her ‘meeting’ with Ailes is easily the most painful scene to watch.
The film all but confirms the sad fact that one of the biggest enemies facing women subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace are other women. With jobs, security of tenure, and advancement part of the high stakes being played for, harassment and objectification are still issues that women endure, and ironically, even defend.
Directed by—and with a screenplay written by—men, the only reservation I would make regarding the film is that it only scratches the surface.
Directed by—and with a screenplay written by—men, the only reservation I would make regarding the film is that it only scratches the surface. It relies too much on reported facts, and fails to dig deeper and fully realize the central characters. But it faithfully reminds us that this all happened a mere four years ago, bringing home the point that when it comes to #MeToo there’s still so much to do and overcome. Bombshell is showing only in a limited number of screens, so seek it out before it disappears. It’s a thought-provoking film that has its heart in the right place.
Bombshell is showing in cinemas.
Photos from IMdB