Gillian Anderson ’23 / Emertainment Monthly Movies Assistant Editor
Bombshell, directed by Jay Roach, is centered around Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron), television commentator Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman), and associate producer Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie). The film starts in 2015 and leads up to Roger Ailes’ (John Lithgow) resignation from Fox News the following summer.
Bombshell starts off as engaging from the first moments on screen, where Megyn Kelley (Theron) speaks to the camera and gives a tour of Fox News. Multiple different characters, including Kidman’s Gretchen Carlson address the camera, which makes gives the movie a less conventional edge and draws the viewer in from the start. Despite some instances of humor, it is mostly alarming and grave to watch these events unfold. The use of tension is also very effective in telling the harsh story of sexual harassment and the fear that surrounds speaking up. The film is overall very authentic and even harrowing at times
Part of what makes Bombshell special is the acting. The three leading actresses are Charlize Theron, who is no stranger to transforming for her roles (for example, her Oscar winning role in Monster), alters herself once again for her role as Megyn Kelly. They look so similar in fact, that co-star Nicole Kidman didn’t recognize her on set, according to an interview with ET. The struggles that Kelly goes through during the movie’s timeline is given heart through Theron, no matter what political beliefs an audience member might have. Nicole Kidman was also amazing as Gretchen Carlson, who sought legal action to try and take down Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. Kidman delivers a performance that is heartfelt and honest. Although her screen time was less than her co-stars, Margot Robbie as Kayla Pospisil really stood out. Her character is not based off of a single person in real life but is a compilation of many women who worked at Fox News, according to Esquire. Robbie’s performance is in-depth and very emotional. She brings many layers to her character as she learns about the workplace at Fox News and befriends Jess Carr (Kate McKinnon), who is secretly a liberal lesbian among the conservative Fox environment. Robbie’s performance was genuinely moving and will please those who weren’t fond of her performance as Sharon Tate (although most fans of Tate herself were pleased). Both Robbie and Theron earned Golden Globe nominations for their roles, which are well deserved for the both of them.
The second part of what makes Bombshell special is its relevance in today’s media. Although the #MeToo movement didn’t pick up until 2017, Bombshell’s story fits right in with the issues of sexual harassment that surround it. Bombshell makes an important statement about how important it is to speak up against sexual harassment. It delivers a message about having the courage to speak up against those who are abusing their power towards women. Bombshell, although dark, can also be seen as a story of inspiration as the #MeToo movement continues to gain power.
Bombshell is an entertaining and informative biographical drama about the Fox News scandal that lead to Roger Ailes’ resignation. The film is full of great transformations, like Theron into Megyn Kelly and John Lithgow’s transformation into Roger Ailes. It is very strong in its message and does have some political bias. Although Bombshell is not perfect, it gets the job done.
Overall grade: B+
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